Miss America’s gown giveaway outfits more than 150 local teens for prom

Miss America 2019, Nia Franklin, donated more than 150 gowns last weekend at Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Miss America’s gown giveaway outfits more than 150  local teens for prom
April 07
12:05 2022

With winter weather giving way to more spring-like temperatures and the end of the school year drawing near, prom season is officially in full swing. And last weekend Miss America 2019, Nia Franklin, did her part to make sure more than 150 young women have the perfect dress for prom night when she hosted a gown giveaway at Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Franklin, who is a native of Winston-Salem, said the idea for the gown giveaway was sparked a few years ago but was put on hold due to the pandemic. She said the dresses were donated by various volunteers and organizations. Brand new gowns were donated by Jovani, the same designer who dressed Franklin when she was crowned Miss America. 

Several gowns were donated personally by Franklin. 

“All this stemmed from my personal selection of gowns. I had a lot of gowns just sitting around and I knew I wasn’t going to wear them again, but I didn’t want to just give them away to anyone,” Franklin said. “I wanted them to go to special homes and special young ladies.”

Dr. Serenus T. Churn Sr., who is the pastor at Mount Zion, said Franklin has always been willing to lend a helping hand to those in need and the gown giveaway is just the latest example. 

“This is not new for her; she has always been a giving person and concerned about the well -being of others. This is just an extension of that spirit of service and love,” Churn said. 

On the day of the giveaway, the line to get inside the church stretched to the parking lot. Once inside, with help from volunteers, the girls had the opportunity to try on two different gowns before choosing which one was right for them.

When choosing the perfect evening gown, Franklin said essentially you’re looking for something that makes you look beautiful both inside and out. She said how a gown makes a girl feel is even more important than how it looks. Along with the gowns, young women also received a letter from Franklin that talked about the importance of inner beauty and being confident. 

“We have a letter that we’re putting inside the gift bags that talks about how the beauty that we see in each other actually comes from out of the love of God and God’s love for us; it’s really, really an inner beauty,” Franklin continued. “So when you put on that dress, it’s not even about what it looks like, it’s about how you feel in it and what that dress represents and how you represent yourself in the dress.”

Ramiah Anderson, who will be attending Parkland’s prom on May 14, found “the one” with help from Franklin and her grandmother. She said when she saw the long, flowing, sequined gown, she just knew it was the one for her. 

“I love it. It’s just so beautiful … it’s so me,” Anderson said.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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