Precious Moments Boutique

Precious Moments Boutique outfits students for their special occasions


Girl pinning corsage to her date's suitFor 2 decades, a boutique in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board has ensured students are dressed the part for their precious moments.

The Precious Moments Boutique, located inside the St. Mary Catholic Education Resource Centre, is a donation centre where students can pick from an assortment of gently used formal wear, free of charge.

The project is the brainchild of Social Worker Kelly Duffy-Kariam, who saw a need for prom and Holy Communion outfits for students in Equal Opportunities schools. For families struggling with financial issues, the cost of a new dress or suit can add to the already existing burden. As a result, Duffy-Kariam realized some students were missing out on important occasions simply because their families did not have the funds to support it.

After enlisting the help of a local consignment store to help outfit a handful of deserving students, Duffy-Kariam decided to hold an annual system-wide collection and open a boutique in-house.

"Our Catholic community has been so very generous," she said. "We get donations that include prom wear, suits, First Holy Communion apparel, shoes, purses, makeup, jewelry, ties, and shirts. We are grateful for everything."

The success of the boutique relies not only on donations, but its army of volunteers, which include Janice Robinson, Rosanne Sogan, Luisa Pietrantonio, Bridget D'Alesio, Gail Bankowski, Mary Louise Ceroni, and Kathy Davidson.

"We have two seamstresses available at our open houses and my volunteers make every single child and parent feel like a million bucks without judgment," said Duffy-Kariam.

Boy giving girl a rose"Often outfits need a bit of adjusting, here and there," said Davidson. Together, she and Pietrantonio work with students and help create a customized fit.

"I love working side by side with all the Precious Moments volunteers, helping each client pick out an outfit that delights them," said Davidson. "It’s the best feeling when you see the smile on their face because they have found the perfect outfit."

Ceroni has been volunteering for numerous years and says it's the shift in confidence that warms her heart the most.

"I have seen young girls stand taller, head raised, smiling when they see themselves. Young men who have never had a suit holding their head high with such confidence," said Ceroni.

"I love seeing the young girls pick out Communion dresses. We let them try on as many as they want. They twirl and dance in front of the mirror having fun."

"We have clothed hundreds of kids and now many other boards have adopted our service," said Duffy-Kariam.

"We are about creating a positive experience for everyone."

 

Donate to the Precious Moments Boutique

Purse and formal shoesThe Precious Moments Boutique accepts donations all year long. Donated items can be dropped off at the reception of the Father Kennedy Catholic Education Centre (90 Mulberry St, Hamilton), from 8am - 4pm Monday to Friday. Please ensure donations are clean and current. Currently the boutique is in dire need of boys First Holy Communion apparel.

Accepted donations include:

  • Prom/grad style dresses
  • Suits (separate pieces welcome)
  • Dress shoes/heels
  • First Communion outfits/shoes
  • Ties/pocket squares
  • Costume jewellery
  • Clutches/purses

Thank you to the Diocese of Hamilton, Hamilton Community Foundation, The Reloved Boutique, La Rondine Occasions, Hamilton Video and Sound, Hamilton Police Service, and Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School (HCDSB) for your generous donations to the Precious Moments Boutique.

Precious Moments Boutique Open House

Communion girlsPick from an assortment of new and gently experienced First Holy Communion, Prom and/or Graduation attire at the HWCDSB’s Precious Moments Boutique Open House. Clothing is available at no cost. Items are distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Please note, one complete outfit per student. Student must also be present.

2024 Open House Dates

First Holy Communion Apparel Only:
Wednesday March 6th from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 10th from 3:00 - 7:00 pm.

Graduation Apparel Only:
Saturday, May 4th from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00p.m.

Location:
St. Mary Catholic Education Resource Centre - 209 MacNab Street North, 3rd Floor
(Entrance to the boutique is located at the corner of MacNab St. N and Colbourne St.)

All students and parents are welcome.Prom dress

For more information, please email Kelly Duffy-Kariam at [email protected].

The boutique will also accept donations during open house hours.