Three times in as many years, Alliance Bible Fellowship in Boone, North Carolina, has thrown a party for people with special needs. Called the Joy Prom, the event is intended to bless special needs persons, caregivers, and families with love, pampering, great food, and a good time. I am a member of the photography team at Alliance, and this year I was asked to shoot formal pictures that could be shared with our guests.
The Joy Prom is not a unique idea. These proms are springing up all over and have other names, such as the Night to Shine (Tim Tebow Foundation) and the Night to Remember. They have in common that they are free and intended to honor and bless special needs people.
My part of the experience this year was to take formal pictures of our guests. The formals were taken back in a classroom, well away from the din of the dance. Our guests would come, usually in small groups or with their caregivers. Most wanted pictures of themselves and with somebody else. I got to take a few family pictures too. Everyone (well, almost everyone) was happy and happy to be in a picture. There was one poor lady who seemed genuinely frightened, but she was brave about having her picture made for someone else special to her.
We called it the Joy Prom, and that is, in a bare form, what I saw so much. I saw joy. I saw people who were not preoccupied with anything else but the present. I could see a sense of wonder in their eyes. Wonder at being so handsomely or beautifully dressed; wonder at the decorations; wonder at the chance to dance, dance, dance.
One young lady beamed in her tiara for her picture and exclaimed, over and over, “I’m a princess!” Diane, my assistant, told her, “You are a princess, a daughter of the King!” I wish I lived in awe of the truth of that, that I’m a prince. The Bible says so. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (I John 3:1).
If you would like to see more pictures from the prom, I have a small gallery on this website called Joy Prom Formals. All of the formal pictures are published in a larger gallery on Flickr. Our photography team took many, many more photos, including candid shots from the red carpet entrance, the dance, and other activities. You can see their pictures in the Joy Prom 2016 public gallery on Facebook.