Girls pick out prom dresses at the 2014 Dresses4Dreams Boutique.

Family Matters of Greater Washington will host its fourth annual Dresses4Dreams benefit event 6-8 p.m. March 25 at the Dirty Martini on the 1200 block of Connecticut Ave., NW, in Washington, D.C.

The networking reception, which will be hosted by Remy Martin and WPGC’s “Sunni and the City,” is used to help raise funds and collect new or gently used prom dresses for low-income teens in the District.

Tonya Jackson Smallwood, Family Matters’ president and CEO, said the event was the brainchild of a long-time donor Richard Herman, who expressed his desire to help provide no cost or affordable dresses to teenage girls so they can attend their prom.

Teenage shopper and former Ms. DC Teen contestant at 2014 Dresses4Dreams Boutique.

“A prom dress represents beauty and elegance but more importantly a school prom represents a rite of passage, and a significant event before transitioning into the next phase of a teen’s life,” Smallwood told the AFRO. She added, “We believed this idea coincided with our organization’s mission ‘to create and deliver compassionate solutions that empower, enrich and elevate all ages.’”

Three teenage girls selecting prom dresses.

In the past three years, the initiative has netted over 300 donated dresses and a wide array of shoes and accessories, which helped over 100 teenage girls attend their prom and school pageants. But Smallwood said she would like to see the program’s reach extended.

“This year, we would like to double our efforts in helping over 200 teenage girls attend their prom in self-confidence and style,” she told the AFRO. “Every year our financial donations for this cause have increased and we are accepting donations to obtain premiere items for this much needed cause.”

Committee member Jessica Echols, left, and Family Matters President and CEO Tonya Smallwood at 2014 networking reception.

Dresses 4Dreams boutique events will be held April 9 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library on the 900 block of G Street, NW; and April 15 at the Family Matters office on the 1500 block of 16th Street, NW.

Smallwood said there will also be additional surprises this year.

“We are proud to announce that Walgreens will be sponsoring a raffle for free giveaways of manicures, gift bags and make-up applications.  Also, local professional hairstylists will be offering their services to teenage girls for the day of their prom,” Smallwood said.

Each girl will be entered into a drawing when they attend a local boutique and they will be informed of their winnings.

For more information about this year’s event, visit, or call (202) 289-1510.