My 17-year-old son is not a fan of events with lots of crowds and noise, but he is a fan of music and dancing–at least on his own terms. Jackson was recently selected to attend a National Night to Shine Prom that was held on the same night throughout the U.S. for those with disabilities.
When we got the invitation, I was definitely hesitant to go. So many times, we have attempted social events and they seem to end up in disaster. But my husband and I took a leap of faith and gave it a try.
The evening was the most magical and well-organized event we have ever been to. We were met by wonderful volunteers giving the families high fives and hugs, and wishing the participants a wonderful evening as each one filed in. Our son was then paired up with his buddy for the evening. His name was Cameron.
We informed Cameron that we weren't expecting Jac to last longer than 30 minutes. That he probably wouldn't eat. Wouldn't dance. But he did like music. We wished him the best of luck and off they went.
My husband and I stood there with tears and amazement as our son walked off with his new buddy. We were able to see him receive his crown. Every participant was crowned Prom King or Prom Queen on this special night. He then went to the row of limousines that were there to give the attendees rides around the parking lot.
The parents were ushered into a parents' room where we were treated like royalty. We were treated to dinner, people waiting on us hand and foot. And the best part of all: we were able to watch the prom goers. Our kids were living it up. They were dancing, singing, and just hanging out with their new buddies. They were being regular prom goers.
To our amazement, our son made it the full 3 hours! He went for 3 limousine rides and was able to say that he was the Prom King. This was definitely a magical evening. It was A Night to Shine and shine he did! The teen years are wonderous and challenging.
Get more relevant information on the Teenagers with Disabilities page.