By Doug Flanagan
Camas-Washougal Post-Record 

Washougal student, mother lift spirits with homecoming dress giveaway


Last updated 10/20/2021 at 3:26pm

Doug Flanagan

Washougal High School senior Taylor Poulsen tries on a dress during the "Giving Gown Gala" event at Washougal High School on Oct. 8, 2021.

When Taylor Poulsen sees people at Washougal High School's upcoming homecoming dance wearing dresses that they otherwise wouldn't have had access to if it wasn't for her efforts, an already special evening will become all the more memorable.

Poulsen, a Washougal High senior, and her mother Tara are collecting previously worn formal gowns to give to students for the school's homecoming dance, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16.

"It's really fun to do something like this because (the dresses) are going to people I go to school with, people I know," Taylor said during the "Giving Gown Gala" event, held Oct. 8 at the high school's upper gymnasium. "That's what's really exciting. I've been thinking about seeing people (at the dance and saying to them), 'Oh my gosh, I helped pick out that dress. I'm so excited that you're wearing it.' It's really cool."

Tara came up with the idea several weeks ago, motivated by the prospect of doing something to help lift the spirits of local teenagers, many of whom have been struggling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think (this project) is such a unifier, and we need unifiers right now," Tara said. "We need some common ground in our community, and I think lifting up our kids is the perfect place to start. I wanted to do something good and positive, something that everybody could come together and be involved in. The morale of our teenagers has been a focus for a lot of parents. We're just trying to do something to help out and boost the self-esteem of these kids that have really been feeling the pressure of the situation for the past couple of years."

Tara started out by asking community members via Instagram post to drop off dresses at Beauty Temptations salon in Washougal or the high school. Initially, she didn't know what kind of reaction the post would generate and set her expectations accordingly low.

"At first, we only wanted 60 (dresses)," Taylor said.

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