Think of the happiest, funnest, most memorable prom that you can remember. Multiply that by ten, and you have the Joy Prom. Last Saturday I attended the Joy Prom, an event I’ve had the privilege of being a part of for the past several years. The Joy Prom is where our high school students throw a prom for the special needs community in our area. The high school students serve as dates, we literally roll out the red carpet, and have a night we’ll always remember. (Watch last year’s recap video here.) Here’s seven reasons why I love the Joy Prom so much:
1. It’s all about the red carpet. When the Joy Prom couples walk down the red carpet with hundreds of people cheering them on, you should see their smiles. They feel like a million bucks, and you can tell. To see the smiles on the faces of the precious special needs students is absolutely priceless.
2. Blessing the caregivers. The caregivers of the special needs community are the unsung heroes of this whole thing. Their time, energy and continuous effort to serve others goes vastly under-appreciated. To bless them and validate their work by blessing those precious souls in their care, even if for one night, is worth the effort.
3. Providing the best prom for high schoolers. Over the years, the constant refrain I’ve heard from high schoolers is that the Joy Prom is the best prom they’ve ever been to. There’s no pretense, no image to upkeep, no social hierarchy. The students are able to come in, let loose, and truly be themselves.
4. Seeing Christians coming together to serve. Too often, Christians are separated by churches and denominational lines, allowing secondary things to separate them. The Joy Prom is one of the few times I’ve seen Christians from numerous churches come together. The purpose of serving the special needs community transcends religious territorialism. If only this could happen more often.
5. Breaking stereotypes and rocking the church. Yes, we have a dance at the church. And it’s rocking. You can hear the bass thumping before you walk in the doors. Every once in awhile, it’s good to shake things up a little. Christians can have fun too.
6. Experiencing pure, unadulterated joy. Attending the Joy Prom is like watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition for three hours. You’re going to love it, but you’re going to cry at some point. There’s an emotional experience when you see the pure joy radiating from the faces of the special needs students. It tugs at your emotional core, reminding you that such pure joy exists.
7. Knowing that we blessed more than just the special needs community. Jesus says, ”Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least ofthese brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). I think the Joy Prom honestly reflects the love of our Savior, who has a special place in his heart for those on the margins of society.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s Joy Prom so special!
QUESTION: If you’ve been a part of a Joy Prom before, what’s you’re favorite aspect of it?