Tammy Robinson from Formally Ever After has been helping youth across the City of Logan for many years to make it to their formals in beautiful dresses and suits, but the last couple of months she took on a project of a slightly different kind.
The remote community of Aurukun in far north Queensland is remote and the Aurukun PCYC wanted to celebrate NAIDOC week with their first ever Youth NAIDOC Ball. Their problem was to get formal attire for the teens was near impossible, so Norma, from PCYC, contacted Tammy in late April to see if she could help.
With many emails, phone calls, and Facebook messages back and forth, the plan was set, and Tammy was eager to help these kids enjoy their event.
There were 20 young ladies to find dresses for and 20 young men needed suits, shirts, and ties, so this was always going to be a challenge.
“Norma asked the girls what their two fav colours were and worked out their t-shirt size and one by one she’d send a list,” said Tammy.
“I’d pick dresses down here I’d know would be flexible without being tried on in the colours and sizes for each girl and I’d make that into a collage and send to Norma.
“I’d get a yes, she picked or a no, so I’d do more pics.
“I carefully picked dresses I knew were ones that are easy fits or altered easily and 14 out of 20 fit perfectly with only six needing alterations.
“It was a long process but so worth it and it was super hard work for Norma but eventually we got all 20 girls and guys done.”
After all the clothes were sorted, it was time for Tammy to work on jewellery and all the little extras that is given to help make the teens feel even more special.
Norma and her daughter were on holiday and came to visit Tammy in Logan on their way back and together they worked out everything else that was needed.
To get everything up to Aurukun, 2500kms away, Norma loaded the car with the 100kgs of formal wear, got it all on the plane and had everything back in their community with plenty of time to do the final touches.
When the night of the Ball took place, all the teens were dressed in their formal wear and walked down the street to family and friends watching.
“There was growing excitement in community for the event and Norma sent pics as they tried them on. It was like I was a part of it all,” said Tammy.
“What an absolutely beautiful event to be a small part of by helping with the formal wear.
“It made my heart over flow with happiness as it wasn’t just giving some formal wear. Norma kept me updated with photos, calls and messages from day one of us connecting and she told me how the kids reacted trying on their clothes, and the happy chatter as they left after.
“I learnt that everything is doable and I learnt about their community and the battles these kids face and how just like every other young person they just want to feel loved, confident, and special.
“I learnt how amazing the community of Aurukun is and how the local PCYC want to make a huge impact on the youths by encouraging them that they can do everything they want to.”
While Tammy worked hard to make all of this happen, she was still working her day job and helping other youths from Logan and surrounds with their formal attire.
“This was a big team effort with so many helping up in Aurukun to make the Ball a massive success and a night to truly remember.
“But for us here at Formally Ever After, it was also a huge team effort of love kindness and support and sharing what beautiful outfits we have here in Logan with the Aurukun community.
“Formally Ever After is making some amazing community connections and together we are empowering our youth.”