For the second year in a row, Delaney took part in “A Night to Remember” Prom. Weeks ago, she selected her dress from hundreds of donated gowns, and it was tailored to fit perfectly by a volunteer seamstress. (Boys receive free tuxedo rentals.) Tonight she showed up with 400+ kids with special needs and the same number of teen volunteer buddies, who also probably have needs but not special ones.
After pairing up with a same-sex buddy, the girls were taken to have hair and makeup done. Each pair of “honored guest” and buddy embarked in a limousine for a short drive to the start of the red carpet. There they walked through a cheering gauntlet of “paparazzi” on their way to the dance. If a guest was sensitive to noise, a volunteer preceded the pair with a “Quiet” sign, so the crowd would know to wave their hands in a silent cheer.
Some, especially boys, really ham it up. One walked the red carpet at least 10 times while we were waiting to see Delaney.
Once inside, the group danced for an hour and a half and stuffed themselves with chicken nuggets. At 9:00, families were allowed in to pick up their “honored guest.” Each one departed with a goodie bag that included a framed photo of him or her with their buddy.
The couple who developed this event have triplets, but no children with disabilities. They just felt called to do something for their community, and over the years it has evolved into this evening that draws teenagers with and without disabilities, not to mention adult volunteers, from all over southern San Diego. As we have been shown repeatedly over the past 16 years, people are surprisingly good.