Lights, Camera, Action! Man, oh, man did I, along with a hundred of my closest friends feel like celebrities last night. Dances to honor those with special needs have really began to boom over the last few years. I remember first hearing about a prom for special needs adults through a great friend of mine almost three years ago. Being the girly girl that I am, I absolutely beamed at the thought of another reason to get dolled up and rock one of those poofy, sparkling dresses. Over the three years, I have had the opportunity to attend that prom along with two others near my hometown. Each time I am invited to one of these special dances, I absolutely light up. It is amazing how communities can come together to honor those who may have never been in the "spotlight" before.
From the moment we arrive, to the very last dance, we are the guests of honor, the celebrities, the stars of the show, the special ones. Weeks before the dance, we all have the opportunity to come pick out a FREE dress and accessories that are all donated by community members. Alterations are made (if necessary) so that our perfect dresses are the perfect fit. On the day of the dance, we all arrive ready to be pampered. Boys and girls alike have the opportunity to get their hair done and makeup applied before our limos arrive and we hit the red carpet.
As we exited the building and prepared to enter into our limosines, my heart raced with excitement and anticipation. I knew my mom, my sister and my grandmother would be there to cheer me on but little did I know, there would be hundreds of others right beside them. When I say, "Lights, Camera, Action", I mean it! My friend Stephanie and I stepped out of our limo to a local news lady announcing our names to the crowd. We each grabbed our "hosts" arms and strutted down the carpet. Lights were flashing, cameras were snapping and everyone in the crowd cheered us on. I only felt it necessary to bust a couple of my best dance moves to really get the crowd going.
From there we walked to get our professional pictures taken, had a bite to eat and hit the dance floor. While all of us were getting jiggy with it, our families were escorted into a special viewing area where they were served dinner and got to watch all of us on the big screen. My mom even said there were massage therapists that were giving them all free massages, HOW COOL!
As we grabbed our goodie bags and hugged our hosts goodbye, I couldn't help but reflect on this AMAZING experience. For some of us, high school wasn't or isn't the "best years of our lives". There are times where bullying and the stress of fitting in takes away from those monumental moments. Even homecomings and high school proms can become stressful because of the anxiety of not having a date or feeling like an outcast amongst the king's and queen's of the crowd. Here, each and every one of us is a king and a queen. There is no stress about fitting in, no worry about who might be judging you because of that "crazy dance move" you have on repeat, and if an emergency arises, our family is right next door! Here, arm flapping is cool, dates are whatever, and our friendships are forever. Here, everyone fits in.
As I wrap up this post I want to send a huge shoutout and thank you to the Ridge Community Church and all of the wonderful volunteers that make this special event happen. We are forever greatful for a night that we will always remember and friendships we will never forget. Thank you for allowing us to stand in the spotlight and thank you for seeing us as the beautiful individuals we are.
Until next time..