After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Be Exceptional Programs, a nonprofit that offers recreational classes for those with exceptional needs, is hosting their annual prom for ages 14 and up, Friday, May 26.
The prom, a Masquerade Ball with the theme of a “Magical Night of Mystery,” will be at the Brentwood Senior Activity Center at 193 Griffith Lane from 6-9 p.m.
Be Exceptional Program’s founder Lynda Green says that the event is important for the older kids and adults because it is set up like a regular prom at a high school. The participants get to dress up, take photos, see their friends and dance.
“We run our prom like a typical high school,” she said. “There’s a DJ, everybody dresses up, there’s a photographer, catered food, decorations and every year we pick a different theme. This year's theme is the Masquerade Ball.”
But unlike a typical high school dance, there are accommodations for the attendees, such as providing the attendees with an aide upon request.
“When they go to their proms, sometimes they need a break or one-on-one attention, because there’s so many kids there,” she said. “And our students know that they’re gonna have their friends that they know, a lot of our students come to several different classes a week, so they know each other.”
The program's dances have had a high turnout since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, with more than 70 kids in attendance at their Winter Ball dance in December, according to Green..
Be Exceptional also likes to include the community in their events as well, as their dances are free events for their students. So businesses can donate their goods and services to the dance or residents can volunteer to set up and run the events. Brentwood and Oakley high school students can volunteer and receive community service hours since the Liberty Union High School District encourages students to complete eight hours of community service towards their American Government class curriculum, officials said.
Green encourages high school and college students to volunteer, especially those who are interested in special education, “We are looking for high school teens who need community service hours or college students, any young adults who may need the experience in volunteering,” she said. “Or those who are looking to get into the field of special education, a good way is to volunteer.”
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