Thursday, May 2, 2013

So you think you can dance? So can the Challengers!

The Salvation Army Broken Arrow Boys & Girls Club hosts Red Carpet Formal

Challengers dance to "Y.M.C.A."
The Broken Arrow Boys & Girls Club hosted their second annual Challengers’ Red Carpet Formal and this time around I got to attend it! The Challengers are a group of developmentally disabled kids and adults who are sponsored by the Club. I was touched to see the Club host the dance for the Challengers, since some of them might never have attended a high school prom. BA Club Director Janis Fraley and aquatics instructor Shelley Persinger both have huge hearts for the Challengers and their dedication to the group showed in every little detail at the formal.

This young lady is waiting for her guy.
First, the club really did roll out red carpet and the Challengers walked on it as they entered the gym through a gazebo decorated with spring flowers.  Many of the Challengers dressed up in prom attire, but just like every prom, there are always a few who come casual. A professional DJ played classics such as YMCA and the Macarena, threw in some rock for the kids and even some from Frank Sinatra for the parents (and me).

BA Club receptionist Holly Jones talked her photographer husband Kent into shooting portraits of couples. The BA staff had set up the fitness room for his studio, and he brought lights and a backdrop.

Ladies from the BA Corps donated homemade desserts, the club provided a main course and Challenger parents also brought appetizers and desserts. Unlike a prom, the Red Carpet Formal “refreshments” turned out to be a full dinner.

Shelley Persinger, left, serves dinner.
Not only did the formal give Challengers an opportunity  to have fun,  the dance also gave Challenger parents an opportunity to relax with their mostly-grown children and visit with other Challenger parents.

Challenger Kaylee Thomason's parents, Allen and Merise Roberts, said the dance was a great time for their kids to get out and have a wonderful time.(Kaylee and Merise are in the left photo.) I caught them dancing several times with Kaylee and also with each other, which was sweet. It’s a wonderful thing to see what a Boys & Girls Club can do when a special group of people inspires them to give it their all. I’m looking forward to the third annual Challengers Formal!

–Sallie



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