First Prom – A Big Night with Big Smiles

March 30, 2010 at 11:45 am Leave a comment

For many of us our first prom was a special night that we’ll never forget. Our shelter in Phoenix recently held its inaugural prom for students, many of whom were unfamiliar even with the idea. Staff and students came up with the theme, “A Night of Royalty.” Here is a guest post from shelter director, Geraldo Rivera:


Excitement built on Prom week as preparations were made, and the students began to realize and appreciate the significance of the event. Watching the students’ infectious anticipation grow was wonderful.
Almost 100 students attended our Spring Prom.  The house where the ladies were getting ready had 18 assisting female employees who all pitched in ironing dresses, shirts, pants, and helping with make-up.
The prom was held in the beautifully decorated “Plazita” which was adorned with balloons, paper stars, and papier-mâché.  On the stage was the throne that would sit the Spring 2010 Prom King and Queen.  In the center of the Plazita were round tables with white tablecloths, where all the students would be served.


The students were welcomed by the Program Director Geraldo Rivera, Assistant Program Director Silvia Mendoza and the Guatemalan Consulate, Julia Guzman.   Twenty students danced the waltz which they had practiced and rehearsed the entire week.
Southwest Key’s youth care workers dressed in white shirts and black pants served the students appetizers, followed by an excellent dinner and dessert. After the votes were tallied the newly Crowned King and Queen were congratulated and toasted with sparkling apple cider, sat at the throne, then danced a solo.

Music for the dance was provided by a volunteer DJ which included all types of dances from salsa, meringue, punta, and even a little rock and roll. Many of the young women stated that they had never worn make-up, curled their hair or worn a formal dress.  Their smiles were worth every bit of effort put into the event.  It was such a success that employees and students agreed to make the Spring Prom and Fall Prom an established bi-annual event.

There are no words that can thank the many employees and employee families that gave of their time, purchased items and shared their personal resources without being asked. For example, Maria Avendano, the mother of one of our  employees,provided the entire Italian dinner: Chicken Parmesan, velvet cake, chocolate covered strawberries, and sparkling apple cider. Friends of Southwest Key such as Melissa, Fanny and Heather with Dr. Hidalgo’s team donated formal dresses. Thank you ALL!

For more pictures follow this link

(Please note, as minors, faces have been blurred to protect their identity.)

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Entry filed under: Shelter Program, Southwest Key Programs. Tags: , , , , .

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