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DHS News April 2012 | PDF Icon DHS News April 2012

Project Prom for Gentlemen

A high school prom can be a young person’s first venture into the world of formal events. To help ease the transition and equip young men with the skills to succeed, this year, the DHS Office of Community Relations (OCR) created a male counterpart to its popular Project Prom event, titled Project Prom for Gentlemen. 

“Many youth are used to living a casual lifestyle, so the events and etiquette surrounding prom may be new, and a bit intimidating, to them,” said Ondréa Burton, Events and Donations Manager. “The Project Prom for Gentlemen sessions are designed to teach young men important life skills in a fun, interactive and nonjudgmental way.”

Project Prom for Gentlemen sessions began with a lesson from local etiquette coach Nikki Williams. Ms. Williams taught the young men table settings, formal dinner etiquette and how to be an attentive dinner companion. Attendees were able to put their newly acquired skills to use during a catered meal provided by Tanya’s Catering and underwritten by the Dignity and Respect campaign.

After dinner, volunteers acted in skits to demonstrate the proper - and improper - ways to dress, ask someone out on a date and interact with a date’s parents. The skits also emphasized the importance of being responsible by abstaining from drugs and alcohol and ensuring that friends do not drive when under the influence.

The event concluded with attendees visiting training stations where they learned a variety of tie knots: the Four in Hand, Pratt, Half Windsor, Windsor and bow tie. Each knot’s training station had a poster and a mentor to teach the young men every step of the process. Attendees who successfully completed all five knots received four tickets to a Pittsburgh Pirates game. Additional prizes were available to young men for answering trivia questions or demonstrating leadership during the event.

Throughout the evening, Project Prom for Gentlemen attendees were measured and fitted for tuxedos. Donated tuxedos were available for those who want to have their own for prom and future special occasions. Young men who wanted a color, style or size that was not in the inventory received a voucher to rent a tuxedo from a local sponsoring merchant.

“The community has been extremely supportive of this event - from the donations of food, prizes and tuxes to the many volunteers who supported the logistics of the event and served as mentors. It’s heartwarming to be a part of so many people working together to teach these young men skills that will be useful way beyond the prom season,” said Ondréa. 

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