by Pamela Young, Published March 01, 2012
It's a special celebration next week for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they enjoy a "Night at the Prom," sponsored by the Eastern Michigan University's Best Buddies program.
WHO: Eastern Michigan University's Best Buddies student chapter
WHAT: Candy Land, the theme for a prom hosted by EMU students for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Includes candy decorations, a DJ, games and a professional photographer.
WHEN: Saturday, March 10, 7-9:30 p.m.
WHERE: EMU Student Center, 900 Oakwood, Ypsilanti
"We strive to recreate the prom-like feeling for our buddies because some of them didn't have the opportunity to attend a prom," said Sarah Mueller, activities coordinator, who is majoring in special education. "We've also invited the Best Buddies from the University of Michigan so the guests can mix with their friends.
"My sister has Down syndrome and I know how much she desires to have friends and to be socially active," she added. "It promises to be a wonderful evening for both the adults and students."
Best Buddies is an international non-profit program founded by Anthony Shriver, son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who established the Special Olympics.
EMU's chapter has 81 members - 51 college students and 30 buddies. Student members are matched up with adults who live in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor communities. The adults are primarily from the Washtenaw Intermediate School District's transition programs at EMU and Washtenaw Community College. Others are from West Bloomfield's transition program.
This isn't a one-time event, Mueller said. Each pair is required to make contact with each other every other week at a minimum. They also meet face-to-face twice a month.
"Our volunteer coordinators support the pairs by hosting monthly activities including trips to a pumpkin patch, hosting a Thanksgiving feast and attending EMU basketball games," said Mueller.
For more information, contact Sarah Mueller at firstname.lastname@example.org or Karen Martindale, college Best Buddies director at email@example.com