Its prom season and 18 girls in Tucson are getting that experience at no cost.

Prom dresses alone can cost up to $1000, but thanks to a group known as the Reinas, the girls are getting dresses from Hem and Her Bridal as a reward for the hard work theyve put into their high school careers.

At Hem and Her Bridal, almost every dress is made by the hands of Joyce Feickert.

Its just letting them know theyre worth it, letting them know they deserve to look beautiful, said Feickert.

So when she and her team were asked if they could give any of her dresses to make prom happen for girls in high school, they couldnt say no.

To see their smiles and that confidence level rise up to the roof, its pretty amazing and its an awesome feeling, said Yissel Mankel, an employee with Hem and Her.

But the prom dresses werent the only award for the 18 girls. The Reina Prom Committee puts together an annual prom giveaway. The committee is made up of women, many coming from the southside, who donate their time and skills to give the girls makeovers, style their hair, and uplift them as a Reinahood.

The committee started in 2022 after the pandemic.

We wanted to really come together after COVID,” committee founder Selina Barajas said. “A lot of us here felt it was important to provide the prom of their dreams, so we really wanted to give those girls the opportunity. So we had 30 apply. We gave 15 hair, make-up, dresses, said Barajas.

This year, all 18 girls who applied received prom dresses. Six of those girls were chosen to get a head-to-toe makeover based on their application. Selina Barajas introduced Lucy Pacheco to the Reinas.

She has a 4.6 unweighted GPA, chills, Barajas said. She continued to read from her application, quoting Pacheco.

Throughout much of my academic career in engineering-focused spaces, I am the only female in the room. I want to experience the potential of being fully supported by women in a different focus, the application read.

Pacheco was chosen to have the opportunity to experience the Reinahood, something shed like to see in her future career.

Sometimes Im the only female in the room when it comes to STEM-related things, whether its my calculus class or my precision manufacturing class. And I think seeing the change is kind of being part of the change, so I would like to be part of that change that actually gets to be part of the STEM field and gets to be one of the many women engineers that are out there, Pacheco said.

The Reina Prom Committee hosted a celebration for Pacheco at the Ambassador Event Center, which is owned by Gabi and Jaime Reyes. Selina Barajas chose which schools were eligible for the prom giveaway based on which were holding their prom at the Ambassador Event Center to encourage more schools to choose small businesses for events like prom.

We met Selina a few years back, and from the get-go you always see someone thats thriving and has that big heart, the fact that she loves so much about the Tucson community, it really is someone that attracts to be a part of it, said Jaime Reyes.

Gabi and Jaime Reyes actually introduced this group of Reinas to Hem and Her Bridal, making it possible to offer each applicant a prom dress.

They had no problem in doing the 30 dresses. Everyone jumps into it. So I really really like that. And Im going to keep going until Selina tells me I cant do it no more, said Gabi Reyes.

I think theres always going to be another Reina thats going to come forward and is going to help out with it, so what you saw here is just that. You know, you saw a young little princess who basically presents with such amazing involvement already in her own school. And shes stepping forward already because of what she wrote, what she believes, and what she is. With the Reina Committee, you can actually see how the support is going to bring her up to the next level, said Jaime Reyes.

And thats exactly the impact its had on Lucy Pacheco.

The fact that they were willing to come together to support me along with other Reinas, I think after I graduate I might come back and actually support the other prom giveaway winners, said Pacheco.