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Mom Prom fundraising concept starts to gain steam

Mom Prom: The fundraising idea that started in Detroit has begun to spread as a fun way to bring women together at a themed party while helping a cause. The Mom Prom concept has spread to Washington and New York, and may soon be found in four other states.

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Michelle Salamon (l.) is greeted by Nicole Ambrose (c.) and Eva Ambrose at the Mom Prom in Canton Township, Mich., Feb. 25. The Mom Prom is a fundraising event that has been spreading across the country and raising thousands of dollars for charities.

Carlos Osorio/AP

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Like most prom dresses, Michelle Salamon's got stashed in a closet after the big night. The white floor-length gown she sewed during home economics class in 1990 languished for years until she learned about an event that gives mothers a charitable excuse to squeeze back into their youth.

"It's a little snug," the 38-year-old teacher's assistant joked before entering a party affectionately known as the "Mom Prom" in suburban Detroit. "I just zipped it up, and it fits!"

Now in its sixth year, the ladies-only gathering encourages women to dive into their closets and pull out prom, bridesmaid and even wedding dresses — that are decades old in some cases — for a night of dancing, drinking and reminiscing while raising money for worthy causes. The event has brought in thousands of dollars for cancer research and charitable groups, and is inspiring similar events in other states.

"That's why we have prom," organizer Betsy Crapps told the cheering group of more than 100 women as they jammed to 1980s music and beyond Friday, proudly donning a metallic rainbow of chiffon, satin and sequins. "We're changing the world, ladies, one prom at a time."

The event owes its origin to the puffy pink number that Crapps wore to her senior prom. The 41-year-old was so amused by the gown when her mother gave it back to her several years ago that she wore it to her friends' Academy Awards watch party. It was a hit, and about a dozen friends agreed to don their tacky, dated dresses for a night of dinner and dancing designed to raise money for charity.

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