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Lodge Grass woman sets up underprivileged students for success at prom with donations

Posted at 8:06 PM, Apr 17, 2024

LODGE GRASS — Lodge Grass High School students were sent to prom in dresses and tuxedos donated by community members on Saturday after Marie Birdinground posted about wanting to provide for underprivileged students on Facebook.

“I was telling my brother Sam that I wanted to adopt a girl from Lodge Grass just to send to the prom," said Birdinground. "Then it just blew up from there.”

Members of the community also came together to donate their money and time for makeup and hair for the event.

“Some people don’t have moms that teach them how to do makeup or older siblings and stuff like that," said Jasmine McCurdy, a volunteer makeup artist.

Samuel Enemyhunter, Marie's brother, explained that, for many students, prom is an opportunity to escape the reality of poverty in Lodge Grass.

“On the reservation, we are one of the most impoverished places in Montana," said Enemyhunter. "Dresses are anywhere from $100 to $500, and for somebody here, that’s food."

In the Lodge Grass community, Marie said, poverty can often be accompanied by drug and alcohol abuse, leading to teens being neglected on a night like prom.

“It’s sad to say, there are some parents who choose drugs or alcohol over their kids. To them, it’s a waste to buy them outfits or get them ready for prom," said Birdinground.

She said she believes change can be evoked through community members uniting around common goals like a positive prom experience.

“They could be out doing something else like shopping for their own kids, but instead they’re helping kids around their community," said Joakiah Laverdure, who was looking for a tuxedo to attend prom.