BROWNSBURG — Kendall Daugherty and Jordan Mutnansky have teamed up to start their own non-profit organization — Drop Your Dress Foundation — to help empower teens with terminal and debilitation illnesses.
The mission of the group is to offer ill teens a prom-style party with all of the health provisions and precautions to keep them safe.
The organization is in the process of accepting donated dresses, suits, and accessories for the event which will be held at Connection Pointe Christian Church.
“So far we have 90 dresses, 16 ties, and a couple of shirts and jackets,” Daugherty said.
Daugherty has been contacting area hospitals and other support programs looking for teens to invite to the prom.
“We have a ‘to do’ list that is actually 12 feet long,” she said. “It’s getting pretty stressful trying to get our minds wrapped around all of this.”
They’re working on the project all while having family commitments and, oh yes, going to high school full time.
Daugherty, 17, and Mutnansky, 16, are still teen-agers themselves. They got the idea to start the foundation while on a church trip.
“We went on a trip to Florida to participate in Do Big Stuf,” Mutnansky said. “It’s a meeting where they encourage you to do something big.”
The two are friends who attend youth group at Connection Pointe Christian Church in Brownsburg.
Daugherty attends University High School in Carmel and Mutnansky is a student at Brownsburg High School.
“We’ve been going on this trip for three years,” Mutnansky said. “Each year we go back and work with kids below the poverty level. They inspire us to do something big when we return home.”
While on the trip in 2011, the girls seemed to have the idea for Drop Your Dress almost simultaneously.
“We looked at each other and it was like we were reading each other’s minds,” she said.
They immediately started texting their youth minister, Mike Berry. He said they should talk it over and the rest is history.
“We want to bring hope to and empower teens with chronic medical conditions by reminding them that they matter,” Mutnansky said.
By the time they returned home, they had pretty much decided on the mission of their new project and how they would go about it.
Both Daugherty and Mutnansky have illnesses that have impacted their mobility and felt they could empathize with other teens who may not be able to go to their prom because of a medical condition.
“Medical bills add up so fast,” Mutnansky said. “Most college students still have prom dresses in their parents’ attics or basements, or suit pieces they’ve outgrown.”
The group takes those donations so the families of the teens attending the event will not be taxed further by needing to purchase a new dress or suit.
The Drop Your Dress Foundation is mostly run by the co-founders and many other teens. They do have the support of three adult volunteers: Berry, Buddy Faulkner, and Jenny Bates.
The middle and high school ministries at Connection Pointe have helped raise $520 for the event.
There will be a fundraiser for the Drop Your Dress Foundation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 10 at the Crown Room in Brownsburg. It will be a prom fashion show. The cost of the show is $10 per person and it will be catered by Olive Garden.
“We’ll be showing off the new styles and hairstyles,” Mutnansky said. “It will be more of a girl event.”
Tickets are being sold in advance of the event and may be purchased by e-mailing to email@example.com. Donations are also being arranged with the use of that e-mail address.