Newhouse director of recruitment and diversity helps high schoolers get to the dance

by Jewél Jackson

April 10, 2019

Through her open-closet nonprofit, Timi Komonibo makes prom pretty for local teenagers.

Timi Komonibo
Timi Komonibo Photo by Hieu Nguyen

Inspired by an “open closet policy” that she had with her sisters and her college friends, Newhouse School director of recruitment and diversity Timi Komonibo realized that unused clothes didn’t have to just sit in her closet when they could be of use to others.

“At first, I would give clothes away, but then I realized that there were actual organizations helping women in need and that I could be very strategic,” Komonibo says. “So even though it was someone’s left over stuff, it could really help a woman do something with her life.”

On that idea, Komonibo launched StyleLottery, a nonprofit that provides clothing and styling for women in the Syracuse area. On April 13, Komonibo will take the StyleLottery idea a step further by partnering with DressHer Boutique and Mercy Works to put on the annual DressHer Prom Dress Giveaway, giving gowns to local teenagers needing outfits for the big dance.

“Its just going to be the entire Syracuse community coming out and supporting our high school students,” Komonibo says.

All a student needs to participate is a school ID, and they will receive free access to a selection of prom dresses, styling guidance and support from the community.

“This is our chance as women in the Syracuse area to be big sisters to these young students and to just cheer them on,” she says. “When you’re in high school you’re dealing with so many things. As an older woman, I can still affirm a high school girl in a way that I would have loved to be affirmed in high school.”

Local high schoolers interested in participating in the DressHer Prom Dress Giveaway can get more information here>>

Jewél Jackson is a sophomore newspaper and online journalism student at the Newhouse School.