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Prom of the Stars | All-inclusive prom builds confidence and community among adults with disabilities

Saturday night more than 700 people attended the annual Prom of the Stars.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — People with disabilities across Knoxville came together for a night like no other. on Saturday. The Prom of the Stars is an all-inclusive annual event started by Farragut Christian Church in 2003.

Each year the prom is supported completely by the community. This prom focuses on serving people 15 years old and older with physical and mental disabilities.

"This population doesn't often get the opportunities to celebrate like the rest of us. So, we wanted to make sure that they had a night that was just for them," said Shannon Warden, who helped organize the event.

Many of the adults at the event may not have had the chance to attend their high school proms. The Prom of the Stars gives them a second chance to make memories on a special night.

"We have a lot of people here, who they didn't have the opportunities to be at a regular high school, or they didn't have opportunities to have dances. So, this is really for them," Warden said.

It's a chance for the girls to dress up and hit the town in style!

About two weeks before the Prom, the church has a dress fitting. They collect the dresses as donations from the community and allow the attendees to "shop" for a dress of their liking.

"We have seamstresses who help to alter their dresses and fit them just for them, too," Warden said.

Once the attendees arrive, they all take pictures. 

"These young women are just beautiful with their dresses. They just feel like princesses," Warden said.

Sisters, Becca and Diane were two people who had beautiful dresses and both raved about how pretty they felt in their gowns. However, their favorite part of the prom was getting to see all their friends.

"We get to hang with friends and just have fun. We just don't need to be stressed, we just go out there and have fun," Becca said.

The two sisters have been coming to the Prom of the Stars for years. 

In that time, they've gotten to know a lot of people. Diane said they have "thousands" of friends at the prom.

While these sisters are all about meeting people and talking with people, others are all about dancing. The dance floor was packed with attendees, volunteers, and caregivers. Everyone was working together to make the experience magical.

"It's just this one special night of the year, and it's just amazing for them," Warden said.

When the prom first started in 2003, the church says they had around 50 guests.

This year, there was an estimated 700 guests attended.


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