If you drove down Poplar Avenue on the evening of Friday, April 21, you probably noticed that something special was happening here. That’s when 230 guests and 650 volunteers gathered for a night of dancing, laughter and fun at the 4th annual Memphis Joy Prom, a full-scale prom for individuals with special needs ages 16+, organized by Christ Church, Second Pres, Longview Heights Baptist, Grace Evan, Young Life Capernaum, Camp Conquest and Germantown Pres. The night lived up to its theme, One Enchanted Evening, featuring live music, food, and of course paparazzi!
“Memphis Joy Prom encapsulates the JOY and LOVE that are experienced on one Friday night in April each year. This special evening was designed to make a night of dreams come true for adults with disabilities ages 16 to 100. Each year we hear personal stories of our guests experiencing a prom that is like no other. Everything they see is just for them—delicious food, sweets from the finest bakeries in Memphis and this year a local band that added even more smiles and tired feet than ever in the past four years,” said Ashley Parks, director of the Special Needs Ministry at Christ Church.
“We do this because we love God’s people. There is nothing more gratifying than to see the joy experienced on this evening and the parents and caregivers’ hearts full as they leave to go home. The impact does not stop in just their lives but the lives of our 700 volunteers and sponsors who generously donate their time and resources for us to put on a grand party for the special needs community we serve here in the Mid-South. All hearts are filled in one evening with the love of Christ.”
Many parents took time to share what the Memphis Joy Prom means to their family. Here are excerpts from these:
We look forward to it every year! Julianne absolutely loves it. The volunteers are awesome and so very loving! It gives our daughter a chance to have a night to feel special and for us as parents to enjoy food and fellowship. Thank you! The best night ever! –Kevin & Diane Westbrook
What a beautiful expression of Christ’s love! For us it is a real joy—Tony gets to socialize, and we meet so many people and get to socialize with friends. Thank you and God bless you all. He never went to prom in school so this is a wonderful experience. –Marie Doherty
Great night! Our son loves attending ‘dress up dances,’ and he was so excited about tonight. Our daughter helped last year and this year. She loves helping. It’s a good night for us parents too—gives us a chance to hang out and meet other parents and have some adult time.
–Shane & Michele Daniel
A time to meet with other parents that have children with special needs. A time to meet new people and share experiences. A time for my child to feel special and mingle with his peers. Thanks for letting us be part of this special event. –J. Porter
It has provided my family with the true meaning of giving. It let me know there is a God for all people. On behalf of Kim, we thank you for the opportunity to be a guest. –Ann Johnson Harris
This event meant a lot to my family. It was a very organized event, and the staff was very friendly. I appreciate the time and effort that were put into the event. Keep up the good work. This meant the world to these kids. –Sandra Fung
It’s a chance for my son to dance and socialize with many of his friends and make new friends
Special thanks to these sponsors for making the night such a special event: