Regina Hapgood, a small business owner operating “Ma Dukes Alterations” out of her home in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, has donated over 55 prom dresses to foster girls in need this prom season alone.
Having been unable to attend her own prom, Regina has always regretted missing the opportunity, and placed great importance on helping make sure other girls are able to go and have a night to remember.
“When my own daughter went to prom, I was a widow working three jobs to make ends meet. But I knew she wanted that special dress,” Regina tells Love What Matters.
Regina became aware of foster teens’ need for formal dresses when she became a foster parent herself. Hapgood has been a foster mom for more than 10 years and has fostered about a dozen children.
“Being a foster parent is very rewarding, and at times a struggle,” Regina says. She started out doing emergency care, and then decided to foster teen girls because her own daughter was grown and out of the home, and Hapgood says she missed the teen and mom connection.
“Several of the foster girls I’ve had went to the prom with borrowed gowns, so I knew there must be others from foster care that were having the same problem,” the seamstress shares. “I started to ask girls that could afford new gowns if they were willing to donate, and that is how it all began.” Now Regina has a collection of prom and bridesmaid dresses for the girls to choose from.
“A lot of the teen girls who are in foster care have been in the system most of their life,” Regina tells Love What Matters. Many of them have not had the easiest childhoods and have likely missed out on some of the “normal privileges” so many other children are able to enjoy.
“For them to come and pick out the dress they want and for me to do the alterations, they get to be princess for the night and it’s amazing,” the foster mom tells Boston 25 News.
To protect the foster girls’ identity, Regina doesn’t take pictures of them in their dresses or share any of their information. She says this also helps save them from having to admit their dress is a hand-me-down, which many girls may find embarrassing.
But Regina says all of the girls express gratitude for the gowns and look and feel beautiful being able to attend prom in a lovely dress.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Regina Hapgood. You can visit Ma Dukes Alterations on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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