The Raleigh area's 2014 Joy Prom was a phenomenal success. This year marked the 10th anniversary of this hugely popular outreach event to adults with special needs. This year's event was held on Friday, May 16, at Providence Baptist Church. At least 275 registered guests with almost as many chaperones and approximately 500 volunteers experienced an amazing evening they could not forget.
Guests arrived dressed to impress. The men donned polished shoes and dashing suits, while the women wore fancy dresses with runway ready hair, makeup, and jewelry. Upon arriving, every guest walked down a plush red carpet as the announcer called out their names with a warm welcome and great fanfare. Crowds of admiring fans and paparazzi applauded as each guest was escorted in regally.
The theme for this year's Joy Prom was "Under the Big Top”. The decorations, guest stations, dinner menu, and some if the volunteers' clothing all reinforced this circus theme. The imaginative balloon creations were especially impressive. The lion cage and trapeze artists suspended from the ceiling of the dining hall were some of the most popular balloon sculptures.
Guests could visit a variety of fun stations before the main event, which everyone considered to be the "Big Top" where the dancing took place. At the “Pie Cart” (aka dining room), guests received exceptional service and plenty of circus fare. Some of the food offerings included hotdogs, fruit, chips, salads, and an array of desserts. Guests could have their faces painted along “Clown Alley”. While waiting in line to have professional portraits taken, guests enjoyed snow cones and popcorn in the “Concession Courtyard”.
Volunteers hosted the guests during the evening with full medical and security teams on hand to assist as needed so that caregivers could relax in the “Ringmaster Room” where comfortable seating and tasty delights were offered in a quieter social setting. A critical part of special needs ministry should be extending love and support to the caregivers who serve selflessly and tirelessly.
As usual, the large ballroom where the disc jockeys kept the upbeat music flowing was packed the entire evening with energetic dancers smiling widely. The joy radiating from each precious face at these Joy Proms is so inspiring, for it communicates eternal truth. Each and every human being has been created by God in His image (Genesis 1:27) and testifies of His glory. All have been fearfully and wonderfully made with the ability to think, feel emotion, worship God, serve others, encourage, and experience loving relationships with others and with their heavenly Father.
"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well."
Perhaps the guests at these Joy Proms experience joy at a deeper level than most people, for self-awareness does not seem to enslave or restrain them. The joy they have is contagious and compels those they encounter to love others more deeply and more sacrificially.
The first Joy Prom was held at Providence Baptist Church ten years ago. For the past decade, event coordinators have been helping churches across the nation host similar events and to develop or expand special needs ministries. For more information, contact the special needs ministry at Providence Baptist Church at 919-326-3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?' 3 Jesus answered, 'It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.'"
To view photos from this year's Joy Prom, click on the slideshow accompanying this article or view Providence's Highlights video here.
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