By Samuel Rowland
Over 100 fancy gowns arrived at the Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown Heights, Westchester over the course of the past month. But none of them have a price tag. None of them are in a store at all. What is being stored in the mall’s management office is the latest project of Let It Shine Inc: a prom dress giveaway. Unfortunately, the event has been postponed indefinitely by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Let It Shine Inc is a Hudson Valley-based community organization that was started just last year by Kacey Morabito Grean. Growing out of the ad-hoc community service efforts of the “Circle of Women” private Facebook group (over 1,300 members), Let It Shine Inc. was created to give an organizational heft and structure to their efforts to support women in need of money and resources in the Hudson River Valley. The prom dress donation drive and the Get Your Gown event is their first major event after initial fundraisers and a launch party.
“This project was a brainstorm over brunch with the group,” Lisa Cole, the event’s project manager wrote. “We’ve gotten some spectacular dresses.”
Let It Shine Inc. has also received support from local Cold Spring, NY custom business, Jaymark Jewelers. Melanie Matero of Jaymark Jewelers worked with Grean to create a line of new necklaces to promote Let It Shine Inc. Jaymark Jewelers is planning to donate to Let It Shine between 24% and 34% of the price of each necklace it sells.
“We have custom designed… many original jewelry styles as fundraisers,” Matero wrote in an email message. “Partnering with Kacey is extra special as our relationship with her spans 40 plus years.”
The dresses are currently sitting in the Jefferson Valley Mall management office until the mall reopens. All other functions, fundraising events and giveaways have been paused too. When asked for comment on the management’s handling of the postponed event, Jefferson Valley Mall Marketing Director Heather Novak declined to comment on the record, but generally expressed continued support for the prom dress giveaway, whenever it would happen.
Grean wears many hats. She hosts two segments on the WHUD (100.7) regional radio station. On weekday mornings, she banters with Mike Bennett on Mike & Kacey In the Morning. At 6:30 AM on Sundays, for the last 11 years, she hosts a health and lifestyle show called Shine On!: The Health and Happiness Show – often promoting alternative medicine treatments – that is also archived as a podcast.
The success of the radio show (WHUD had the top Neilson rating in the Hudson Valley at 5.8 in Fall 2019) led to inspirational speaking luncheons that created a community of regular attendees and other speakers, who created the “Circle of Women” Facebook group to coordinate events.
“On the Facebook page, we support each other, there’s kindness and affirmation and good thoughts,” Grean said. “But then, we had this situation where a young mom in the group really needed stuff. She had to get out of a bad situation fast and someone wrote ‘What more can we do?’”
Let it Shine Inc was Grean’s response: an organizational structure to help people “do more”.