Guide takes teen-agers toward prom perfection


Attention, teens:

Looking for advice on renting a tux for the prom? How about the best places to go for a good time after the music stops, or even for wise words on the proper choice of a date for the evening?

Joanne Giza and Sharon Keech include this information and more in their 24-page Prom 1993 Guide. From juggling finances to flower etiquette, the guide offers an abundance of conventional wisdom for prom time teen-agers.

"We know that a prom is a lot of fun, and we wanted to do a publication that would be entertaining for teens but would give them the underlying message that you can have a lot of fun and not drink, too," says Ms. Giza, editor and publisher of Baltimore's Child, a monthly tabloid for parents of young children.

In part, the two women also decided to publish the guide to commemorate their 10th anniversary in Baltimore.

With 25,000 copies printed, the prom magazine has been circulated through Baltimore County and Howard County libraries, high schools and formal-wear rental shops.

The publishers worked with the Baltimore County chapter of Students Against Driving Drunk and the Baltimore County Office of Substance Abuse, and a recurring theme in the guide is finding safe alternatives to the notorious after-prom hotel parties where alcohol is often available.

"What we're trying to do is give kids alternatives to the drink-three-hours-and-throw-up-two-hours night," says Ms. Keech, associate editor and publisher of Baltimore's Child.

Another of Ms. Giza's motivations for publishing the guide was that her own children are 11, 16 and 18. "As a parent, I have had to deal with different things now than I did 10 years ago," she says. "They have a lot of needs and a lot of questions."

Along with information on limousine rental, there are also articles about restaurants that are open late after the prom and alternate places to go to have fun, such as ice skating, miniature golf and go-cart racing. All of the articles except one are written by high school or college students.

"Our biggest concern was that it would be really lame," admits Ms. Giza. "That's why we couldn't write it ourselves."

According to Ms. Keech, whose children are 9 and 11, she and Ms. Giza started Baltimore's Child when their children were very young. "But now our children have moved into the teen years, and it just occurred to us that there needs to be a resource for teens," she says.

The two women say the prom guide has been well-received by both teen-agers and advertisers. They're planning to publish another teen-oriented supplement in the fall, and hope to publish one at least four times a year.

"Teen-agers really need something on the local level they can read to get information on community issues," said Ms. Giza. "There are a lot of issues I think we could address."

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