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Being part of special life events with individualized special needs in mind is not a common or easy task to undertake.
Joy Cameron knows this well, as she went through the process to grant her son, Cody, who has autism and did not attend public school, a lifetime event that is special to everyone, to attend prom. 3 years ago, Joy realized that even though events such as a prom are open to the community, they don't typically cater to kids and adults with special needs in mind. At that moment, she decided to organize her own prom as a graduation present for Cody.
Shine! Prom, as they now call it, was expected to have only 30 guests when Joy first organized it. Instead, the room filled up with about 180 attendees. May 2, 2015 marks the Third Annual Shine! Prom, and, this time around, organizers are expecting no less than 400 guests to attend this luau-themed Dance Party.
Joy specializes in special needs education and has another level of understanding of kids and adults with special needs. She sees each individual, especially her own Cody, as blessings so special, they allow us to understand what it means not to judge and create a pure environment of love. The event itself is an extension of this understanding. Not only does Shine! Prom include features that cater to people with special needs, but it also brings everyone together to experience what a truly fun and "all inclusive" environment is like.
She wants to enable others in other cities to organize such events and is willing to help anyone who wants to give it a try. Shine! Prom has continued for the past few years with Joy and many wonderful volunteers who just want to give kids and adults with special needs the opportunity to experience prom. Let us come together and reward her for the initiative she is taking for her community.