Joy Prom: Where dreams really do come true
by Sherrie Norris
Put them together - Joy Prom - and expect something spectacular.
That's the hope of the Alliance Bible Fellowship congregation in Boone as it hosts an event from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, for teens and adults with developmental or physical disabilities, and something their entire families can enjoy together.
No one should miss out on one of the most festive events that takes place about this same time every year, but for some, the privilege of attending a high school prom is not a reality.
For those who might have missed the experience, this upcoming celebration will prove that dreams do come true, according to the Wrights.
According to those behind the scenes, it the belief of ABF that every person is made in the image of God and that each life should be valued and celebrated.
"Joy Prom is our church's way of spotlighting a community of people who are often overlooked in our society," said Ronny Wright, who along with his wife, Anne Margaret Wright, is helping to get the word out into the community and encouraging participation.
"As parents of three beautiful children with Down Syndrome, we understand the challenges and the unique blessings of loving someone with special needs," Ronny said. "We hope that the Joy Prom will be a day that truly blesses these very special individuals throughout the High Country.
The idea for this inaugural event for ABF, the Wrights said, was inspired by Carmel Baptist Church near Charlotte, which has hosted similar occasions for the past several years. Joy Proms have become popular events all across the country in the recent past.
Further inspiration and confirmation to host the prom, the couple said, comes from Luke 14: 13- 14, "But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
It's going to be fun, most of all, but try to imagine the elation of each participant, arriving in formal attire (as desired), given the red carpet treatment, literally, upon entrance, and hearing his or her name announced as church members and volunteers welcome them with cheers and applause, according to the Wrights.
What a way to begin the afternoon gathering that will offer opportunities to boost self-esteem and confidence, including several "pamper stations" for nail painting, shoe shines, photos and games.
Music, dancing and refreshments, including a desert bar with tea, lemonade and water, will follow. Sugar- and gluten-free desserts and drinks will be available, as will additional options, if the need is made known in advance.
Joy Prom is not a drop-off event, but one in which parents or caregivers of guests must be present and remain with each individual or group throughout the evening.
"This gives family and caregivers a unique chance to share in the joy," Wright said.
Also, signed release forms for photos and videos are required, as the mementos will be used to promote future Joy Proms and to share highlights throughout the year with the church and community.
It's going to be great, and even more so with community support through the provision of food, beverages and volunteering of time and talents, he said.
Known as a church that shows God's love in many ways, ABF also has a year-round special needs ministry that offers frequent respite nights for families and caregivers. All ages and levels of ability are welcome, he said.
ABF is located at 1035 N.C. 105 Bypass in Boone.
To offer assistance, financial support or expertise in any of the aforementioned areas, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the church office at (828) 264-8312.
To register your special guests, visit https://abfoffice.wufoo.com/forms/joy-prom-participant-registration/.