Southern California Hosts Its First PromJanuary 5, 2017
Southern California Hosts Its First Prom
By: Jen Cooper Teemer
There was definitely a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air as all of the staff and volunteers were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our special guests. November 11th, 2016 marked the first annual Prom for people with Down syndrome in Southern California, hosted by the Pujols Family Foundation and Down Syndrome Association of Orange County.
As the Program Manager of the Pujols Family Foundation, I have been blessed to experience ten years of Proms for the people that we serve in St. Louis. So, it was with great joy that I made the journey out to Southern California to be a part of their first. I usually spend the day of the event running around, making sure all of the details are taken care of, that volunteers are in place, that the delicious food from our Restaurant Sponsors has arrived and that the band is ready to rock. However, this Prom was a different experience for me. Of course, I was there to help in any way I could but I was not running the show this time. That was left to our amazing team in California.
I was able to take in all of those details more as a participant than as a planner. The mood was set perfectly with all of the elegant black, white and gold decorations. They captured you when you first walked in the doors of Saddleback Church of Anaheim, created a fun backdrop for pictures, transformed the tables and dining area and was brought together by a huge black and white checkerboard dance floor. Because ultimately, the dance floor was where everyone was going to be spending their night. In fact, it was hard to get everyone off of the dance floor for the fun salsa dance demonstrations that were on display. As soon as the performances were done, everyone was back out there, dancing the night away.
I had the privilege of working the Red Carpet at the beginning of the night. I had the opportunity to see every one of the 175 guests all dressed up and so full of joy as they made their way down the Red Carpet, to the cheering and clapping of our volunteers. For some, it was hard to contain their excitement…as was evidenced by their rushing down the carpet to enter the main room. That excitement lasted throughout the whole night and was still evident as everyone inevitably had to make their way home at the end of the evening.
There was already talk of next year in the air, from participants to volunteers to vendors to staff. I am sure that I had a longer journey home than those in attendance. As I was on the airplane flying back to St. Louis, I could not help but smile as I remembered that awesome night and looking forward to seeing my new friends on the dance floor again next year.