‘Fairytale’ themed prom held for people with disabilities

Published: Aug. 13, 2022 at 10:21 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2022 at 5:18 AM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - People with disabilities, their families and their chaperones danced the night away at the prom Saturday.

Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission hosted a “Fairytale” themed prom at the R.L. Jones Center in Mount Pleasant for its 8th year in a row. This event invites people of all ages and all disabilities every year as part of their efforts for accessible events.

“We really wanted to provide an opportunity for some folks who might not have gone to a traditional prom or a school dance,” Melissa Bernhardt, festival and event manager for Charleston County Parks, said. “So, it’s open for all ages, all abilities and we just want everyone to come and dance the night away.”

Throughout the night, about 200 people danced to pop hits and all-time classics, made new friends and even got to take pictures with Cinderella, who also crowned this year’s prom king and queen.

Kendra Chaplin, director of residential services for Community Options, an organization that provides residential and employment services for people with intellectual disabilities, helps prepare this event. She says she loves seeing the smiling faces every year.

“The excitement,” Chaplin said. “When it’s time for the prom, everyone wants to get new dresses, they want to get their hair done, their nail and just to come out and just have a good time. It appears that they really enjoy it.”

Aside from volunteers, the attendees share some of their favorite parts about the prom.

“The crowd and fun,” said Eric Williams, who says he has attended this event many times.

David Parler, a first-time attendee, says he loves the music.

Erin Patterson, another first-time attendee, says she had a lot of fun.

“Just dancing and meeting Cinderella,” Patterson said.

Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission thanks its sponsors for putting this event together.

The Inclusive Prom and Say Yes to the Dress are made possible through the help of many generous supporters, including the Town of Mount Pleasant Recreation Department, which donates the facility; Charleston Flower Market, which donates corsages for participants; Reinvented Resale, which donates formal dresses and jewelry; and Lowcountry Entertainment, which provides DJ services.

Click here to find more information on other inclusive events with Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission.

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