Press "Enter" to skip to content

Can't Afford Prom Dresses? An El Sereno High School Is Helping Teens in Need

Woodrow Wilson High School in El Sereno is offering free clothing, toiletries, school supplies and other necessities to students in need through their new service center called the Mules Closet.

As the large majority of Los Angeles Unified students already come from households at or below the poverty level, there have already been teens who need an additional layer of sweater or coat especially during the winter months. But coming back from coronavirus pandemic, teachers and staffers noticed there was greater need.

“This started way back in 2011,” recalled Elsa Gutierrez-Aviles, who is a college counselor at the school and a Wilson High School alumna herself. “It was different groups on the campus doing the same thing. We would always do it for the prom. But there wasn’t just a need for prom dresses there was a need for sweatshirts, pants and daily clothing, so in the last couple of years, we started thinking we can get a space to do this for the kids.”

All items at the Mule Closet are being given away to students for free. They can stay anonymous, but to help the school keep track of how many students are being serviced and to express appreciation to donors, teens are asked to write a thank-you note.

“For students, they walk in, and they’re like, ‘Oh it looks like a store,” said Elizabeth Seamans, the school’s community coordinator.  “We love it because they’re shopping in dignified manner. It’s not in a bag. It’s not embarrassing for them. We keep it confidential.”

As the school is getting ready for the senior prom on April 23, the hottest items at the Mule Closet these days are prom dresses and suits.

In addition to new or lightly worn prom attire, the school is now accepting other new or gently used clothes, such as sweaters and jackets, and daily necessities. They can be dropped off at the school’s Parent Center during school hours. The Mule Closet is also welcoming generosity from the public as it accepts donations via Venmo and PayPal and through its Amazon wish list.

Do you have a Bright Spot like this? Share your Bright Spot with us!  

Today in LA’s Lynette Romero wants to hear from you! You can message her on Facebook and Instagram. You can also email her at We’ll share your story on Today in LA and our website to further spread your bright spot!

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    %d bloggers like this: