Community pulls together to help needy teen get to prom

Posted at 4:59 PM, Jun 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-08 16:59:19-04

CHICAGO (WLS/CNN) - It's a real-life Cinderella story for a high school student in Chicago who was struggling to pay her way to prom and graduation. 

She was working to raise money for both events when good Samaritans stepped in to help. Quinniya Hearn went live on Facebook last Friday after seeing Shaday Gooden Brown on a mission near her South Side home. "This is the young lady. Look at her hustle," Hearn said.

The Gage Park High School senior has been selling snow cones and chips with her mother and siblings, trying to raise enough money for prom. "Prom only comes once in a lifetime," Brown said.  

“The young lady said she was sitting here and she was praying to God for help. When I came and I said, 'young lady, we are going to help you,' she couldn't believe it," Hearn said.

Windy City Live contributor Erica Watson saw Quinniya's Facebook post.  "I was just so touched by it because you have this young woman who wasn't begging for money," Quinniya said.  

She reached out to her connections across the city including Quiana Allen, the owner of Curve Culture Boutique and makeup artist Janae Wesby. "I want her to wear the makeup and feel good,” Wesby said. 

"She started crying. She was very happy that we all joined in to try to help her,” Allen said. 

"I got bullied and talked about because how dark-skinned I am and how my clothes ain't up to date and all of that. But, when I was trying on the dress, it gave me self-confidence because I don't have too much of that,” Brown said. 

It was all a priceless gift that came out of the kindness of strangers, making this teen's dreams for prom a reality and boosting her self-esteem.

"I said, 'see, I told you God is good. He is good all the time. Don't you never forget that, Shaday," said Kesha Gooden, the student’s mother.

"I'm not used to all the attention on me. I'm like the background person,” Brown said.  

“Ya'll have to excuse me because I am happy that my child is blessed,” Brown’s mother said.  The community is also pitching in to help Shaday with clothes for graduation.


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