By Melissa Partika
On April 4, 2003 Kyrsten Studer was crossing 304 in Hubbard with her friends when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver.
Her sister Sarah Studer established The Kyrsten Elizabeth Studer Foundation in her honor. Each year the foundation holds a fundraiser — Kyrsten’s Kloset — that challenges young women while providing them with prom dresses.
Studer and her best friend Marcy Angelo collect prom dresses that are freely available to the girls, though there is one stipulation to the agreement.
They sign a promise stating they will not drink and drive.
“We hope that they learn drinking and driving is not a joke,” Studer said.
Studer believes her sister would be happy about the event.
“We think she would love it. She would enjoy it. She always liked to help people,” Studer said. “It’s giving back to girls in her memory, taking something negative and making it positive.”
Youngstown State University Student Dana Sidney is helping to get college students involved and to donate dresses.
“Last year I was there on the first day to help display dresses, to set up and to work the Chinese auction,” Sidney said. “My particular job was something anyone could’ve done, it was just I honestly care for this cause and wanted to do as much as possible to help her family raise awareness.”
The foundation has over 900 dresses to offer. Anyone looking to donate or receive a dress can do so at the event.
“Our event is held on April 2 and 3 at the old Roosevelt gymnasium in Hubbard, at 110 Orchard Ave,” Studer said. “All they have to do is come to that location on those dates and times.”
Studer encourages girls to re-donate dresses once they’ve finished using them.
Angelo recognizes the social implications of reporting drinking and driving but hopes those pressures won’t stop students from being responsible.
“Our police officers work so hard to try to keep these people from driving, but they can only do so much,” Angelo said. “I think the best thing people can do is stand up against it. If you see someone getting ready to drive after drinking, stop them. Call a taxi. Call the police. Stand up against drinking and driving, even if it isn’t the cool thing to do.”
Angelo has a message for college students regarding drunk driving.
“I would tell students to always have a plan — designate someone that doesn’t drink to drive that night, or have a friend on standby to come pick up when the night is over,” Angelo said. “Also, don’t be afraid to call for a ride if things don’t go as planned. It’s never worth risking your life or another life.”