Lexi Harvey's dining room on Monday morning looked like the prom section of a department store with tulle, sparkles and jewel-toned dresses draped over the back of chairs.
The dresses aren't for the 17-year-old, who said she owns only about three, but for her peers who can't afford to buy one themselves.
"It started as a project," she said. "But it turned into something I'm really passionate about."
School dances can easily cost $150 per dance for tickets, dresses, accessories and a limo, and while many in Huntington Beach are fortunate financially, not everyone is, Lexi said.
The Huntington Beach High School senior is trying to help girls in the Huntington Beach Union High School District who have to miss out on the costly school-dance experience by giving them a dress.
The HB Dress Drive, as Lexi is calling it, is her final service project and the accumulation of everything she has learned in her 12 years as a Girl Scout. When she completes the project, she will earn the Girl Scout's Gold Award, the highest award the organization offers.
Dances are a quintessential part of the high school experience, said Alana Kutinski, 17, a member of Lexi's troop. Alana has already finished her Gold Award project, but donated about 10 dresses to the drive. The Huntington Beach High senior said she knows people who don't go to dances because they are too expensive, and this will "mean a lot" to these girls.
The dresses will be given to girls at Huntington Beach, Edison and Fountain Valley high schools at an event where girls can pick out a dress and accessories, nibble on hors d'oeuvres and get hair and makeup tips — just in time for homecoming.
Lexi said she is working with school counselors to make sure that the right students are invited to the event and keeping it private so no one will be embarrassed. She doesn't just want to hand out dresses, she wants the event to be fun, she said.
"I truly want my project to be as successful as it possibly can and to make a night these girls will never forget," Lexi said in an e-mail.
Lexi isn't new to the world of volunteer work, which is, coincidentally, where the idea for the project came.
It was through volunteering in middle school that she said she learned that not everyone was as fortunate as most of her Huntington Beach friends. While her friends were concerned about designer jeans, she was meeting girls her own age who didn't have food or basic clothing.
"These girls don't even know that these girls five feet away in class don't have the same opportunities," she said. "It definitely opened my eyes."
Got An Extra Dress?
Got An Extra Dress?
Donate a semi-formal dress at Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley or Edison high schools from Monday to Sept. 17 or e-mail Lexi Harvey at email@example.com.