Prom Aids African Teens

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Prom night comes and goes, and so do the corsages and boutonnieres bought for the special dance. A teenager has found a way to make the memories last while supporting teenage artisans in Africa. Kim Riemland has the story.  

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(Locator: Nashville, Tennessee)

Everyone remembers prom night. But for students at Ensworth High School in Nashville, Tennessee the photographs they'll look back on years from now will remind them of how their prom helped children in Ethiopia.

(Voice of Francie Fisher) "Makes prom a lot more special, makes it meaningful."

It all started when classmate, and West End United Methodist Church member, Francie Fisher went on a mission trip to Africa, where she found Ethiopian teenagers making glass jewelry by hand.

Francie Fisher, High School Senior: "They have colored glass rods and a flame and that's it. They just mold it together. When I walked into the bead room for the first time, I just broke down and started crying … not out of sadness, out of so much joy. "

(Voice of Francie Fisher) "They make bracelets, they make necklaces."

Inspired by their handiwork, Fisher ordered more than 400 pieces of the jewelry.

(Voice of classmate) “I’m wearing a navy dress.”

The idea was for her classmates to buy the beads instead of, or in addition to, traditional flowers.

Francie set up a table in the school hallway, selling the beads for 25 dollars apiece. Necklaces for girls; stickpins for the guys.

Francie Fisher: “Twenty-five dollars pays for a child's food, education, teacher salary and uniform for an entire month.”

The idea took off, and in only a few months, Fisher collected more than 3,000 dollars.

(Voice of Francie Fisher) “You're paying 25 dollars, which is probably cheaper than a flower anyway, and you keep it.”

(Voice of parent) “That’s so cute. What a great stick pin.”

So on prom night, nearly every photograph will include a small reminder of Fisher's inspirational trip and hard work.

Francie Fisher: “Just seeing every one of them, they're all different but they are all coming from these girls who are so gorgeous on the inside and out, and are just so smart and beautiful and just amazing.”


To learn more about how to support this project, contact Francie Fisher at or call West End United Methodist Church at 615-321-8500, x 8837.

Also, see: Teen promotes African jewelry as prom wear

Posted: April 29, 2009