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Grad gowns available at no cost through friendship centre

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If you’re a graduating student in need of a gown, The Pas Friendship Centre is able to help you out.
The centre has joined forces with a Winnipeg-based group called Gowns for Grads which allows grads the chance to take a gown for use at graduation ceremonies at no cost.
“Gowns are expensive, not everybody can go out and buy a gown they’re only going to wear for a few hours. For most of them it involves travelling to the city to get the gown which is another huge expense so it just makes things convenient so everybody can wear something nice and feel special on their special day,” explained Renee Kastrukoff, Executive Director for the friendship centre.
The gowns are meant to help out those who can’t afford a dress but no one will be turned away.
“Anybody that comes through the door, anybody. It’s not targeted to anyone specifically or anything, we don’t know anybody’s personal situation and it doesn’t matter,” said Kastrukoff.
In addition Kastrukoff stated the gowns are for all graduates in the community, not just high school grads, meaning University College of the North grads were helped out as well. The dresses can be used throughout the areas also, and it was noted some girls have come from as far away as Easterville to try on gowns.
And when you’re done with the gown you can simply keep it and hopefully do the right thing with it.
“All we ask is that when they’re done with their Gowns for Grads they pass the item on to another person that can use it or they bring it back so we can build on our base and next year run the same thing again,” said Kastrukoff.
While 150 gowns did come from Gowns for Grads out of Winnipeg, there are some local donations as well. Approximately 15 gowns were donated locally while Sports Traders donated the racks the gowns are currently hung on inside the centre’s office at 103 Edwards Avenue.
“We’ve got some donated locally so if anybody wants to bring them in and donate them we’d gladly accept them because we’re always looking for different sizes and such,” said Kastrukoff.
This is the first year the Gowns for Grads concept has taken off with the friendship centre though the idea was originally floated out last year just before the graduation season. It was decided to delay until this year so the process could be done right.
The centre is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and anyone interested is asked to just stop by to check out what is a wide selection of quality gowns.
“I’m hoping the racks will continue to get emptier and emptier,” said Kastrukoff. “We’ll keep everything right until grad because if somebody needs something a half hour before the ceremony come on in, we’ll dress you up as best we can.”
Next year Kastrukoff stated they hope to branch out and also have clothing items available for men as well.
“Next we want to have stuff for the guys. We know that usually the tux’s are rented but even renting a tux can be out of reach for some people or they didn’t order in time... so we’re going to look at getting shirts and dress pants and shoes,” she said.

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Trent Allen
EDITOR
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