With the annual Uniondale High School prom just around the corner, alumnus Tiye Bradley knew she wanted to give back to her community by helping seniors enjoy the night stress-free.
Initially, she wasn’t sure how. But as it turned out, all the inspiration she needed was a 2Pac poem.
The “Concrete Rose Project,” also known as “Project Prom,” was put into action just a few weeks before the prom, held Wednesday at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. The goal, Bradley said, was to help as many girls as possible for prom night. When asked about the name “Concrete Rose Project,” she said it mostly had to do with motivation from late hip-hop artist 2Pac Shakur’s “A Rose That Grew From Concrete,” a poem about life’s struggles.
“When I reached out to the teachers in the district, I got such a huge response,” Bradley said. “We wanted the girls to each give their story, so that we knew that we were helping students that were really special. All the girls have different circumstances and were able to overcome adversity through their entire high school careers.”
After Bradley, 20, read through all of the stories, she gave 13 senior girls a survey to evaluate what they needed for prom.
“I was so happy that they all wanted to go!” she said. “It was so great to see their excitement and enthusiasm.”
Bradley and her mother, Janine, reached out to local businesses and community members to see if they could donate their services and assist with prom expenses. Local salons, makeup artists and teachers gave the students glamorous makeovers and sponsored their tickets to attend prom free of charge.
“What was really amazing was to see how the entire community came together,” Bradley said. “I just wanted to make sure all 13 girls had a wonderful experience at the prom.”
Bradley said she hopes to continue her project in the district and assist future graduating students.
“Seeing their faces and seeing how grateful they were is really what made me the most happy,” she said.