DuWanda Epps holds up some of the dresses that are available for the prom through Cultivating Change II.
Amanda Jenkins | Times
By Amanda Jenkins
Times Staff Writer
Cultivating Change II is offering new evening gowns in various sizes to several girls who otherwise might not have the means to purchase a new prom dress for the upcoming high school event.
Cultivating Change II is owned by author DuWanda Epps. Located at 1502 W. Nash St., Suite B, the small, quiet suite offers a neat assortment of clothing and items for those financially less fortunate.
Several women have donated gowns of various sizes for the cause, including Epps, members of her family and a friend.
Epps would also like to provide free accessories, shoes and hairstyles to the girls who wear the dresses. She is encouraging others to call in to donate monetarily for help in purchasing these items.
Cultivating Change II is open from noon to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. An appointment is required, and two types of identification are needed when meeting with Epps for help.
Epps already contributes many services to the Wilson community through her business that provides food, clothes, shoes, coats, household items, appliances, curtains and comforters to those who can’t make ends meet at the end of the paycheck.
She also offers youth and adult educational workshops for free or for a fee of $5 to cover materials. The workshops educate on job readiness, dressing for an interview and other helpful information about life circumstances.
“We’re living in a tough time,” Epps said. “We all fall short in some area of our life. I just want to give hope.”
Epps started helping others when she was 19, living in an apartment building in New York. She saw the need in other tenants’ lives and wanted to help.
She then served her community in Goodwill and Salvation Army stores. Visiting friends in Pitt County, Epps decided to move to Farmville.
She dreamed of owning a business and helping to provide a better life for her children.
She opened her business in Farmville, serving Pitt, Lenoir, Edgecombe and Wilson counties. Cultivating Change II then became incorporated in 2010, and she moved the business to Wilson five years ago.
With a master’s degree in public administration, a husband, children and several books she has written, she is making her dream a reality.
This year marks the second time that Epps has helped prom students.
She said that when families can’t afford a new prom dress for their child due to job layoffs or other circumstances, she wants to help.
The last day to donate is April 16.
Epps encourages anyone who needs help, who knows a financially struggling family or would like to supply the prom shoes, accessories or hairstyles to contact her at 252-674-0021 or email at email@example.com.