When Savanna Testerman finished eighth grade, she still had a dress from the eighth-grade dance she had never even worn.

"I outgrew it, so I gave it to my cousin," the Monkton resident, now 15, recalled.

She also gave away last year's homecoming dress to a freshman classmate.

That idea of handing down dresses is why Savanna said a special fashion show of homecoming dresses, held Sunday at Bel Air's Arena Club, made a lot of sense.


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The show was the first big event by In The Glow, a non-profit founded by Harford native Amber Kreisel to empower young women.

Her first campaign, called Dress Your Glow, brought in more than 900 dresses to donate to girls with the idea they will "pay forward" and return the clothes when they are no longer needed.

"I think it's a great idea," said Savanna, one of many girls who came to check out the event, even if they did not necessarily walk away with dresses.

For a $5 admission fee, girls and their parents could take in jewelry and accessories vendors, a self-defense demonstration and two speakers.

They could sift through a rack of sample donated dresses, take pictures in front of a glitzy backdrop and, ultimately, even buy the dresses modeled by 30 young women during the high-energy fashion show.

About 100 people attended the show, which Kreisel said was roughly her goal.

"Honestly, this event today is my dream come true," said In The Glow's founder.

The 26-year-old project manager at Booz Allen Hamilton graduated from C. Milton Wright High School and has a background in public relations from Wingate University in North Carolina.

Her ultimate goal, however, was to launch a non-profit and help other young women. Kreisel said she hopes to find a permanent space for In The Glow, ideally in Abingdon, and offer services like information on interview skills and applying for scholarships.

It is based on a "women-helping-other-women philosophy" and "paying whatever you have forward," she said.

"My biggest philosophy is, character is helping those who can do nothing for you," Kreisel said before the show, looking confident and calm in a neon-pink In The Glow T-shirt.

She noted about 50 girls have stopped by In The Glow since it opened just a few months ago. The non-profit is not based on need, and any girl can get a dress.

The girls who strutted down the runway on Sunday were equally excited to be part of the event.

"It's like a library for dresses," observed Lindsey Whitt, of Street. She is 21 and already graduated but said she would have loved to have had In The Glow around when she was younger.

Of course, they also enjoyed getting made up and walking down the runway.

At the end of the show, all the girls came out in a line, each holding an adjective describing themselves on a card, such as "Crazy" or "Super Star."