GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A group of teens and young adults with disabilities will get to experience their first prom Saturday night.
A Grand Rapids woman is making this a night to remember using an idea that came from one of her students who has experienced two types of proms: one with his schoolmates and one specifically for those who live with different abilities.
“It’s special to go to prom,” Devan Mulder said.
The 22-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and cognitive impairment, is a student and client of Angela Hines, founder of Aim to Inspire. The nonprofit provides young adults with disabilities a chance to have a fulfilling life where they feel included.
Mulder suggested to Hines that she put on a prom for him and other students with disabilities. Initially, Hines hesitated to accept the idea, but she continued pondering on it and began recognizing how impactful the event would be.
“A lot of young adults haven’t been to a prom when they have a disability because they’re not comfortable
being around other people cause they feel like they don’t fit in. With this special needs prom it’s something that’s created just for them,” Hines said.
Mulder, along with other, students had a lot of input in organizing the prom from deciding on the food to helping to choose the music playlist. Hines says this will be a red carpet event where everyone will feel special.
“It’s not a lot for people to do when you have a disability sometimes they can be excluded,” she said.
The prom is being held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at BHM’s fellowship hall. It’s located at 1065 36th St. SE. The prom will be chaperoned by volunteers from the school and Lighthouse Church. Tickets are $30 at the door.
The nonprofit will also offer a six-week summer program for young adults with disabilities. It will start on June 13 and includes job coaching, vocational training and lessons on life and social skills.
Students will be on a structured schedule and will attend community outings.
To learn more about the prom, you can email Hines at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 616.287.5117.