The email arrived in my inbox on a snowy winter day and the smile that crossed my face could warm even the coldest storm! "A NIGHT TO REMEMBER" was back!!!
We had first heard about this event a few years ago. It is a Prom, dedicated to the celebration of individuals with Special Needs and it is the most amazing event I have ever been a part of. Sit a while and let me tell you all about it....
First, let me explain a little something. Accommodation is a word we know well.
It is what we are told we have a right to in most situations. Our son, Jonah, is severely autistic and he cannot function at the level of his peers in most circumstances. So people are gracious. His needs are provided for. We are so thankful for that.
But, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER Prom is not about accommodating our special kids, though their needs are definitely provided for. This prom is about CELEBRATING them! In all their quirky beauty and their crazy antics, they are pampered and cheered and appreciated for who they are.
It all starts with Tuxedo and Dress fittings which are all provided free fo charge for the "Honored Guests". The girls are doted on with professional hair, nails and makeup through the efforts of an army of stylist who know how to help a girl shine! And SHINE they do. The glittery dresses are only shadowed by the sparkle in their eyes as they arrive on the Red Carpet! The young men are all outfitted in Tuxedos from Men's Warehouse and for Jonah, that is one of the highlights! There are professional photos taken, boutonnières and corsages given out, dinner served and of course, a cool DJ and dancing all night long.
I am now going to tell you about the most amazing part. The part that brings tears to my eyes. Each Honored Guest is paired with a volunteer that they refer to as the Hosts. These are young men and women from local high-schools, universities, churches and communities. They spend the evening dancing and singing, laughing and making sure that this PROM feels like the funnest party you have ever been to! It is the most beautiful thing you will ever see! This lovely gal you see here is Rachel. She was thrilled to volunteer and get paired with Jonah since they are already friends. Her joy and kindness is a beautiful gift and we are so blessed to have her in our lives!
The red carpet event is like a scene out of Hollywood. Parents, relatives and hundreds of community members come out, rain or shine and line the carpet with signs and banners and the loudest cheers you can imagine! For 2 hours they stand and celebrate every single Honored Guest that arrives. The faces of those kids, as they feel all the love being hurled at them, is a beautiful and priceless thing.
The Parents get a little pampering of our own. Dinner, gift bags, a few other special services and a bird's eye view of all the fun. My son LOVES to dance so I am his date at all the school dances and we don't stop till the music does. It was such a treat for me to sit back and watch Jonah do what he loves with a bunch of other kids who love it too and not have to be the one to help make it happen.
The army of volunteers at every turn was so incredibly heart warming. I am sure that this moment of joy for us was the fruit of hours and hours of hard work and planning!
I want to encourage you, if you ever have an opportunity to volunteer for this amazing event, please jump at the chance. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER in our area has been sponsored by Westbridge Community Church but these events are sponsored all over the country by other organizations. My Husband and I have been so blessed to be a part of it and our son Jonah will truly remember this night for years to come. A huge "THANK YOU" from our hearts to yours... every single one of you who truly made it A NIGHT TO REMEMBER!