Home #Hwoodtimes Believe in Yourself: Donating Prom Dresses to Underprivileged Girls in Los Angeles

Believe in Yourself: Donating Prom Dresses to Underprivileged Girls in Los Angeles

By: Angela Redding 

Los Angeles, CA, (The Hollywood Times) 3/13/2019–“ I work with about 20,000 independent fashion designers, and I would get a lot of samples, and I used to give them to celebrities. And, at one point, I’m thinking, they have enough clothes. So, I started going into low-income areas… I would just drop off a box of clothes, a box of dresses. And the appreciation on their (the girls’) faces was like really amazing, and they are telling me now they have the confidence to go to their first dance.”  Sam Sisakhti, Believe in Yourself Founder (Mr. Sisakhti’s opening Quote: source- PBS NewsHour)

Atlanta Dresses

Prom. The very word, for those who attended, can ignite a sudden rush of memories, e.g. being asked to go, shopping trips for the “perfect” outfit to wear, to humorous and or emotional moments during and after the dance. And these are some of the very same memories teenagers will soon experience as prom season is just around the corner. Anyone looking to go to the prom will also have to answer the all-important question, “Can I afford it?” For many, this question tops the list.

If you are or know of someone filled with excitement about attending the prom this year, you know preparation is key.


Prom Budget

Yes, budgeting for such a significant event is necessary. Today, that special night can range in cost from $400 to $1,000+. This hefty price tag can include hair, shoes, the ticket, transportation and a host of additional desired items and activities. And as shocking as it may be to hear, the cost of the gown is not included.

Prom dresses can range in price from $69 to $300+ at some popular bridal shops and department stores.

Believe in Yourself dresses on display(Photo courtesy of Believe in Yourself)

One of the most important parts of prep for teen-aged girls is, What to Wear. Prom night can quickly become an Award Show production from who attended, what was worn and who wore it best.


What’s worn is perhaps one of the most important things to consider for prom. And who doesn’t want to look good – dressed to the nines on Prom Night?

In an effort to ease the frustration and heartache for young girls who aren’t in the position to drop that type of cash on a dress (long or short) for prom is Believe in Yourself. Founder, Sam Siskhti spearheads the non-profit organization and looks to provide free “in-style” gowns for selected young ladies whose family is unable to spend that amount of money on a dress for the big night.


Girls who want to receive a dress must set a goal to improve academically or pursue an extracurricular interest such as music, dance, sports, etc. Each girl’s progress in achieving her set goal is monitored closely by the organization and those who show progress towards reaching their goal are given the opportunity to choose a dress for prom at no financial cost to them or their family.

Goal setting is an important part of the Believe in Yourself organization. They know that goals are important but without a plan as to how you will achieve that goal, you are setting yourself up for failure.


The organization has mapped out a great way to assist the girls in achieving their goals by bringing in Mentors and speakers to motivate them to believe in themselves and to provide counseling to help them achieve their dreams and goals.

We found a great quote from a Believe in Yourself recipient on Cape Cod Times

“He just brought some pretty cool dresses and I found a couple that fit me and not anybody else that I like. They are formal dresses, not casual. I got a gold one and black one,” says Julia Lariviere of Mashpee, MA.

Bangor, Maine: Dresses donated by The Believe in Yourself organization (Photo Courtesy of Believe in Yourself)


The Believe in Yourself Project is an American 501c3 non-profit charity organization dedicated to providing brand-new, unworn designer dresses for girls to wear at school functions. Many teen girls are up against unobtainable social standards placed upon them-which are not just unhealthy, but often times unaffordable. In an effort to close this gap, The Believe In Yourself Project is dedicated to the gainful advancement and empowerment of young women with a gift of confidence.

Believe in Yourself dress recipients in Mashpee, Maine (Photo courtesy of Believe in Yourself)

It is the organization’s belief that every young woman should feel confident regardless of her physicalities or financial circumstance. The Believe in Yourself Project seeks to revolutionize and reverse some of the negative present day messages into one of positivity and encouragement- so that all girls may believe in themselves.

The Believe in Yourself Project goes into community centers, after-school programs, and low-income housing centers and provide designer dresses for underprivileged girls to wear at upcoming school dances. At the same time, they promote positive body image through mentoring and speakers.

Sam Sisakhti, poses with students in CHICAGO, IL (Photo Courtesy of Believe in Yourself)

Impacting the World

Believe in Yourself is making life better for low-income girls and the world. The organization is providing dresses for school dances, prom and instilling in them a sense of self-worth. Each young lady has a purpose to fulfill and low self-esteem due to a lack of confidence and provision can stunt their personal and social growth and the growth of society.

How does society benefit from the elevation of each young lady?

The gifts and talent in each of these young women will not only benefit them and their families but the lives they will impact through the development of their gifts as they set and achieve goals academically and through extracurricular interests. One life impacts another.

Life is a community. There’s always something we can do no matter how small or simple it may seem. Whether it’s donating a dress or speaking affirming words to someone, every act of kindness can go far and beyond our imagination.

Believe in Yourself dress recipients in Boston, MA (Photo courtesy of Believe in Yourself)

Believe in Yourself will be donating dresses to underprivileged girls in Los Angeles this April and May.

Get Involved – Donate a Dress Today

Project: Believe in YourselfDonating Dresses to Underprivileged Girls in Los Angeles

Organization: Believe in Yourself

Founder: Sam Sisakhti

Atlanta Group of Girls (Photo courtesy of Believe in Yourself)
Previous articleIdris Elba’s Yardie
Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.