Adult prom to raise money for special needs children

Published 3:04 am Monday, October 2, 2017

Adults in the community will have the chance to go back to prom this weekend.

On Saturday night, ACCEPT and ExCEL, two Beaufort County groups that provide activities for children with special needs, will host the fifth-annual A Night to Remember: Prom Part 2 at the Washington Civic Center.

“I got thinking one year, I was watching all these high schoolers going to prom, and I was thinking that I miss going to the prom. It was so much fun,” said Crystal Woolard, organizer of the event.

Woolard said the prom is for adults only, and it’s an effort to raise money for the programs so that it can continue to host sporting events and “fun days” for children with special needs. Woolard’s 10-year old son is active in both ACCEPT and ExCEL.

Allison Crisp, director of ACCEPT, said the two programs hold many different activities that promote the acceptance and inclusion of children with special needs, including trips the aquarium, the rodeo,  the fire station and more. She said they have “fun nights” at Athletic Edge Gym, and even hold kickball and basketball events. She also works closely with “ExCEL Ball,” an event where children can play baseball with no pressures and parents can come out and watch.

Crisp said the prom is the biggest fundraiser for the organizations and it typically carries them throughout the whole year and helps them continue to host events. Crisp said Woolard found out the expenses were coming out of Crisp’s pocket, and it sparked the fundraiser.

“Crystal has been so good. It’s so much work, she’s put so much time and effort into it,” Crisp said. “I’ll tell you, she’s just been remarkable. She’s what has helped this organization grow by doing these fundraisers.”

Pamlico Sound Machine will perform at the event, and there will be heavy hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, 50/50 drawing and cash bar, according to Crisp. Guests can dress up in “prom” dresses, or just come as they are.

“It’s a good date night, good fun night out for the crowd to go out and have a good time for a good cause,” Crisp said.

Along with fun days and workshops, Crisp said the main goals of the programs is to educate the community about children with special needs. She said it’s important that the community is understanding and accepting of the children.

“Just because someone is different, doesn’t mean that they don’t have the same wants and needs.  Different is not less,” Crisp said.  “We are all different in some ways, but we all have more in common than what separates us.”

Prom Part 2 will be held Saturday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Washington Civic Center, 110 Gladden St. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased from Crystal Woolard at 252-946-5627.