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Colvin Cleaners Gowns for Prom In Need of Seamstresses and Tailors

The 14th annual Colvin Cleaners Gowns for Prom program is in need of experienced seamstresses and tailors to volunteer during the free distribution of gowns to high school students, who otherwise could not afford one, on the Shea’s Performing Arts Center stage Tuesday, April 16, Wednesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 18 from 3 p.m.-8 p.m.   Once the young ladies select a gown, they are fitted upstairs in the stars’ dressing rooms by professional seamstresses and tailors. The gown is then altered, dry cleaned, packaged and delivered for free by Colvin Cleaners to the young ladies’ school in time for the prom.

Seamstresses and tailors, experienced in altering dresses, need to be able to shorten, take in sides, or shorten straps on a gown. They need to only bring a sewing machine. Colvin Cleaners supplies all tailoring supplies. They can volunteer for as long as they can on any of the three dates. Colvin Cleaners provides free parking, food and beverages for volunteers. If anyone is interested, visit, click the gowns for prom tab and the volunteer tab.

Gowns for Prom, presented by the Allstate Foundation and supported by Reeds Jenss, Shea’s and Townsquare Media, has been collecting gowns and accessories throughout the year to ensure its mission of “providing every young lady in Western New York, who otherwise could not afford one, a perfectly altered and dry cleaned gown for her upcoming high school prom,” said company CEO and President Paul A. Billoni.

For a complete listing of all donation sites and a map, visit or

Student Paloma Rodriguez, left and teacher Florence Dollard, from WNY Maritime Charter School inspect the many gowns that will be on the stage at Sheas for the 2019 Gowns for Prom distribution

Colvin Cleaners is in communication with nearly 90 high schools throughout Western New York. The steady calls from young ladies and schools scheduling times to select a gown has led them to seek more donations, especially a big need for plus sized gowns, sizes 20 and up.   Schools are encouraged to bring students, possibly in a bus, so they are together selecting gowns and avoiding similar colors and styles.

One of the young ladies looking forward to Gowns for Prom is Paloma Rodriguez, a senior at the Western New York Maritime Charter School in Buffalo. For the past two years, Ms. Rodriguez and her classmates and teacher Florence Dollard have walked to Shea’s to select gowns for the school’s annual Military Ball.

“If it was not for this wonderful Gowns for Prom program my friends and I would never be able to attend our Military Ball because we could not afford a nice gown,” explained Rodriguez, who experienced a sneak peak at this year’s selection while being interviewed last week with Billoni by Kevin O’Neill on WGRZ’s Daybreak Show.

“These gowns are gorgeous but what is so nice about this program is how friendly the volunteers are when we arrive at Shea’s. We truly are treated like princesses as they help us find the perfect gown and then we go upstairs to get fitted by the seamstresses in the stars’ dressing rooms. It is unbelievable. Then they take our gown, clean it and deliver it to our school before the ball. You should see how excited we are when the gowns arrive at school,” Rodriguez said.

Ms. Dollard adds: “We are so appreciative of the generosity of our neighbors in WNY and especially to everyone at Colvin Cleaners. You will never know what an extremely positive impact you are having on these young ladies. You truly make them feel like princesses for their special night.”

Written by Michael J. Billoni

Michael J. Billoni

A journalist for nearly 50 years who was an award-winning sports reporter for the Buffalo Courier-Express until it closed in 1982. He was the former vice president/general manager of the Buffalo Bisons and a member of the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. Handled the promotions and publicity for Buffalo’s undefeated heavyweight boxer, “Baby Joe” Mesi. Founder and is managing partner of Billoni Associates. He authored and managed “Robert E. Rich—Memoirs of an Innovator,” the biography of the founder of Rich Products Corp; published 'All In," the memoir of businessman Ronald Zoeller and is currently publishing The Seasons of Buffalo Baseball, the most comprehensive history of professional baseball in the city. It will be released April 17, 2020.

Mike and is wife Debbie love Western New York and always try to help others and encourage positive thoughts

View All Articles by Michael J. Billoni
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