Annual prom to benefit special needs programs

Published 6:43 pm Thursday, September 8, 2016

Graduation may be long past, but local adults can hit the dance floor for a good cause and spend an evening reliving Prom—Part 2.

Next weekend’s Adult Prom … Prom Part 2 is an open invitation to the community to join in support of children with special needs.

The Sept. 17 gala, set for 7-11 p.m. at Southern Plantation Hall in Tranters Creek, will benefit ACCEPT, headed by founder and director Allison Crisp, and ExCEL, headed by Allen Pittman, two organizations that partner to serve children with special needs and their families, according to Crystal Woolard, a special needs parent who is helping head the fundraiser.

The event was created four years ago when Woolard was thinking of a way to give back to the community. After the birth of a son with special needs, it became clear where her efforts would be best served when she met Crisp, Woolard said.

“I became a part of the program, and (Crisp) was paying out-of-pocket,” Woolard said. “It was a great opportunity to use the idea of the prom to benefit her organization. She thought it was a great idea, and it’s an opportunity to raise money for such a good cause.”

Woolard said this year’s prom includes live entertainment from the band Trainwreck, a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing, as well as complimentary appetizers and beverages for purchase. Attendees will also have the opportunity to have a bit of fun making memories through a photo booth that will be available at the event, according to Woolard.

The event doesn’t have a dress code per se, according to Woolard.

“Some people dress up, some people don’t,” Woolard said. “You don’t have to go out and buy a prom dress.”

The money raised funds operations, activities, events and supplies for work done to provide opportunities for children who participate in the programs, Woolard said.

Ranging from trips to fun and educational destinations such as the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores to Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck, to participation in the City of Washington’s annual Christmas parade to an annual Easter egg hunt geared especially toward special needs children; and from monthly trips to locales such as Brooks Pool in Washington to fun days that include music, arts and crafts, story time and other activities, the two programs offer a wide range of stimulating and educational activities that children with special needs may not normally be able to access, according to Woolard.

“I think it’s important because they don’t feel like they’re equal with other kids,” Woolard said. “This way, they’re with their own and able to feel comfortable in their environment so they’re able to do things they enjoy like other kids do.”

Tickets for the Adult Prom are $30 per person and can be purchased at Cottage Junkies, Vidant Women’s Care in Washington or by calling Libbie Woolard at 252-945-6507 or Holton Woolard at 252-623-9516.