MAGIC VALLEY — For the last 16 years, Liyah Babayan has been providing free prom dresses to families who can not afford them.
“I don’t think any family or any young lady should miss out on prom just because of hardship," Babayan said.
Liyah started this tradition after she was not able to attend prom because her family couldn't afford it.
“Personally it was really rewarding for me to be able to do that for our young ladies because I didn’t get to go to prom and I just want to make sure they all get to go to prom if they want to," Babayan said.
The Ooh La La Boutique helps around 30 to 40 families a year who are not able to afford to send their kids to prom. Liyah said some of the families reach out for help while others are referred by other clients.
“In the 16 years that I have done this, we have not had anyone take advantage of this. If anything people are very mindful and prideful to be able to pay what they can and are super thankful when we cover the rest of the dress or just give them the dress for free and tell them you know what enjoy prom and when you are in a point life to pay it forward, pay it forward," Babayan said.
Which is what some of her clients do: pay it forward. Most recently, one of her clients donated money directly to the Ooh La La Boutique to help as many girls as possible get to prom.
“Her note to me was when I was younger we were super poor. My parents couldn’t afford prom dresses for me and my sisters and I always told myself that when I could I would pay it forward I would," Babayan said.
Over the years, Liyah has helped families not only from Idaho but from surrounding states like Utah and Wyoming. Her goal is to continue this tradition.
“When we do these acts in our community it always comes back and it always takes care of people and then those people take care of other people, so there is a ripple to wave effect," Babayan said.
If you or someone you know needs help getting to prom you can visit the Ooh La La Boutique.