There is an event that happens each year in Cherokee County that I believe only special people have the privilege of participating in. I feel honored to be one of those people who could experience the joy of this day.
The event is called the "Friends Formal" and it is a prom of sorts for special needs students and their peer facilitators. People of all ages show up dressed in their very best and ready to dance the night away. The first year that I attended was when my oldest daughter was just in 8th grade - 7 short years ago. I intended to drop her off at the door so she could meet up with her buddy from "Friends Club" and then pick her back up at 10pm but instead, I was drawn into the dance by sheer curiosity. There I stood in the corner and wept as proud parents watched their children interact and dance all while being surrounded and doted on by peers from their school. This was a special dance just for them. The food was the same, the music was the same but the energy and joy at this prom was unlike anything I had ever seen. It was happy tears and a feeling of overwhelming gratitude that my child was able to be a part of something so special.
Fast forward to 2017 and here I am again - the same venue, some of the same kids and an overwhelming sense of emotion as I watch teenagers who grew up before my very eyes care for their special friends. It is a sight to behold and I would challenge anyone who needs a lift in their spirit to volunteer to participate next year. It is life changing.
For access to all the pictures taken at the Friends Formal click on the box below.