BVTLive! intern Kim Bydlon founded and directed a huge service event on West Chester University’s campus for her senior graduation project from the Honors College. The “Once Upon a Prom” Dress Drive occurred on Friday, October 10th, from 4 to 8pm in Sykes Student Union. With the help of 25 student volunteers, the event collected 229 semi-formal and formal dresses and more than 10 accessories to benefit underprivileged female youth who otherwise could not afford to dress for prom or other special occasions.
Kim raised over $1,000 in sponsorship contributions to achieve her vision for the event, and secured awesome special guests to make the event more than just a dress collection. Guests included Wired 96.5’s Street Team, Miss West Chester University 2014 Molly Callanan, and the 2014 Miss Pennsylvania United States Khari Siegfried. The event was fully catered and featured local sponsoring vendors who provided giveaways and contests.
An international, non-profit organization called WGIRLS Inc. will be distributing its collections in the spring to young women of low-income families in high-poverty areas through its Project G.L.A.M. (Granting Lasting Amazing Memories) at their New York City Prom Fair. One of WCU’s relatively new student organizations, BodyPeace, promotes positive body image and self-esteem to students and the surrounding community, and has committed to carrying on the event’s legacy in future years.
Kim will be graduating in early May with a degree in Communication Studies and pursuing a career in the event planning industry. She also has an extensive background in vocal performance, which makes her a perfect fit as a BVTLive! intern! We host interns every semester from the Communication Studies department and various other fields of study at West Chester University. It is important for us to provide solid foundations for these bright students. The BVTLive! staff wishes Kim the best in her future career, and is confident that all of their interns will achieve great things in their futures. We are impressed and honored to have such determined and well-rounded students not only making positive changes in the world, but also contributing to BVTLive!’s success!
Through Kim’s Eyes
“There are certain moments in life that, when they occur, you say, ‘I’m going to remember this one;’ moments that you know are going to affect you for a long, long time. On the contrary, there are others you just breeze through, innocently but carelessly failing to realize that this very moment may be setting the stage for an important performance in your future. I had one of these moments during my senior year of high school, while paging through my favorite magazine, Seventeen, when I came across an article about a few female high school students from an inner-city school who were afforded the opportunity to attend their senior prom through the help of their local community. After reading further, I discovered a website link, which contained a list of locations in the United States at which dresses can be donated to this very cause. I fell in love with the idea, and drew inspiration for a project I would have liked to complete at my high school prior to graduation. However, June 2011 came and went so fast, that after countless projects and graduation preparation, I had lost track of my vision.
Fast forward to July of that summer during orientation for the Honors College of West Chester University of PA; I was so excited to be a part of something greater than me. The first presentation led to a preview of one student’s senior graduation, or “Capstone,” project, and I instantly was drawn back to this inspirational memory that had been sitting in the back of my mind. I realized this was my second chance. From that day, the vision of the official WCU Dress Drive project has been developing, and I am proud, honored, and humbled to say it has blossomed from its initial stages of the drawing board four years ago.
This project has been a whirlwind of both pleasure and pain, of fun, stress, learning lessons and building new relationships. My friends tell me I am a different person now that it’s over, but I’m not sure that is necessarily a good or bad thing. Maybe who I was while I was putting this event together is exactly who I want to be, for the rest of my life. Having taken my professor’s advice before receiving it, or even knowing him for that matter, I refrained from limiting myself or saying, “That’s too much for me.” For one of the few times in my life, no mountain was too high, no dream too big. My vision had no ceiling (shout-out to HCXIII and the Launchpad Conference 2014). In my mind, this sole event would be both the manifestation of my college career and a testament to my future career as an event professional. I couldn’t be more proud of, humbled or thrilled by the success of the event.
Beginning my internship at BVTLive! during the most important and demanding time of planning this event has taught me the importance of balance above all else. In the future, I will be sure to better manage my time and priorities as a result of being a part of the company. President and founder, Kurt Titchenell, has become a strong paternal-like presence in my life since the start of September, and is both a valuable resource and an inspiration to my future career objectives.
Over the experience, this cause has grown so near and dear to my heart, and through “Once Upon a Prom” and WGIRLS’s Project G.L.A.M., the dreams of underprivileged girls everywhere will come true. Prom season is quickly approaching now, so our collections will be distributed and may be worn as early as April. I can sleep easier at night knowing that I–one single person–initiated a change that will make more than 230 young women feel beautiful on both the inside and out, just like I was taught to feel during my youth. The feeling is indescribably wonderful.
I want to offer endless thank-yous to my incredibly supportive, incomparable family for contributing their time, money and energy to this project; to the WCU staff and faculty who did the same; to the sponsors without whom my vision would not have been attained; the special guests who supported this very worthy cause; all my “happy little helper” student volunteers (some of whom doing it for nothing but my love and appreciation); and WGIRLS, Inc. for providing me with the perfect platform; and BodyPeace for carrying on my sort of post-graduation legacy. Most importantly, thank you to the Honors College of West Chester University, for providing me with the second chance I needed to give girls like me a “second dance.”