Posts tagged prom

Mmmm, Memorable


Shirt reads "This is faithfulness at its finest"

Shirt reads “This is faithfulness at its finest”

by Just Add Kids Founder
Paula Herrmann

I kinda don’t even feel like I have the right to write about this, having only been on the sidelines. But, it has been on my mind for the last 4 days. The impression it’s left…well, unforgettable.

                                                                                                                                  If you missed out on any of the snapshots, comments, chatter about it….my gosh, I’ll do my best, from the eyes and heart of this spectator who has been touched so deeply.  Read more….

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       I’m talking about “A Night to Remember – Special Needs Prom” that was brought to life this past Sunday evening by the Great Lakes Church community and Racine community at large. My heart has grown especially soft and fond for the special needs community all spurred on by friendship that has started and grown over the last year. Oh, and if you’ve been a reader of JAK Chat, you may be familiar with the trio I am referring to. That being 16 year old Gavin who has autism: his service dog, Rusty; and his mom, Cindy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The event brought together businesses, organizations, and individuals that donated tuxedos, dresses, limos, primping, photos,

Gavin at tux fitting days prior to ANTR

Gavin at tux fitting days prior to ANTR

time…so much happened behind the scenes, yet for those of us who were spectators, it all came to life on the Red Carpet as each of the nearly 100 honored guests (special needs teens and young adults) were announced and escorted down the path with crowds cheering, cameras snapping, videos rolling, and tears streaming, into Racine’s Festival Hall (which also played host to the prior evening’s Post Prom party for area high schools) where dancing and activities ensued. Of course, most touching personally, was when the crowd was summoned to do a silent cheer for Gavin with hands up (pictured above). Too much noise for Gavin is over-stimulating.

Gavin with his escorts approach the Red Carpet

Gavin with his escorts approach the Red Carpet

I didn’t partake and observe anything that went on inside, but let’s let the pictures and Gavin’s recap below do the “talkin’ “…

Gavin and friend, Jenna

Gavin and friend, Jenna

And they danced....

And they danced….

...and danced!

…and danced!

                                                                                                                              Here’s what non-verbal Gavin had to say about the memorable event via Rapid Prompting Method, in conversation with his therapist Jackie and his mom.

Jackie and Gavin post prom dialog 5.2014Mom – What did you think of the Night to Remember prom?
Gavin – I had a great time.
Mom – How did you feel walking down the red carpet and everyone was doing the quiet waving for you?
Gavin – I loved it.
Mom – Did you like dancing with Jenna and Bella and all the other girls? You danced with way more then 10 girls.
Gavin – I felt cool. They were all so beautiful.
Mom- What was so appealing in the quiet room that you kept going back there after every dance?
Gavin – It was relaxing.
Jackie – Were you trying to find more girls to dance with?
Gavin – Yes, next year can you come Jackie?
Jackie – I have Sunday’s off and would love to help if I am invited.
Mom – What would you like to tell Great Lakes Church, Jeremy and Angela and all the other volunteers that made this prom so AWESOME!
Gavin – I had a great prom. Thank you for all you did for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Even more touched, is Cindy, Gavin’s mom. Reflecting on the event, Cindy was up late last night and wrote out her thoughts in these words…

When “you” realize life is not all about “I and me” it’s about “us and we”,

that’s when together we can truly make a difference in this world.

~ Cindy Schultz (Autism Solution Pieces – Co Founder).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cindy writes on her Facebook wall…”This is how I felt the night of the Night to Remember Special Needs Prom (Great Lakes Church, Jeremy Moore, Angela Tappa and the many other volunteers that made this night so amazing for our kids ~ THANK YOU!!!!)”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And from a woman, a mom, a friend from the sidelines (that would be ME!)….Kudos to Great Lakes Church, hundreds of volunteers, countless donors/donations. You’ve made our community a better place! Well done!



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First Time Mom

The (Non)Prom Mom
Written by Just Add Kids Founder
Paula Herrmann

Ladies and gentlemen, I have arrived.  Our firstborn is a senior in high school. She’s 18. My husband and I are close to completion of raising a child.
This past weekend we experienced our first prom. And if you know about Racine’s prom, it’s more of a big deal than most.
As a mom of 3 daughters, you can only imagine the firsts that we’ve experienced and how before each of those experiences, I’d imagine how perfect each of those firsts would be (first dance recital, first day of school, first communion, first date)  Yeah, many times, it was all about how each of the occasions made me feel…how does she look? Isn’t she adorable? I’m so proud.  This time ’round, was no exception, only experienced from a distance. Because this time…mom wasn’t invited.
Read More…
I don’t quite know when the “mom at an arm’s length” became her posture toward me. She was and still remains the only one of my 4 who would repeatedly call me when I’d go out with my girlfriends…“Mommy, when are you coming home?” “Please come home”, she’d plead with me over and over again. She couldn’t go to sleep until I was home. Not necessarily because she couldn’t live without me, but more it’s that she’s got O.C.D., and at about the age of 10.1 years old, it flaired up. Me being at home and tucking her in nightly was part of her “routine” (and mine, too). Though peeps with O.C.D. many times demonstrate very unique routines and have a difficult time if something does not play out as they plan, including mom not being home at bedtime (or the bedroom door having to be opened (normal), yet having to be about  6″ away from the wall.  Um, not so much normal). Heaven forbid the door touched the wall or was 2 inches off of it…no way!)
As expected, she’d grow out of it, and as most children mature, their dependency on mom lessens. That is evident early on from having to “walk” your baby with arms raised up holding on to your hands, until finally she lets go and can walk, ever so fast and wobbly, on her own. This one…well, she was a late walker…15 months! She is late, somewhat,  in her teen independence.  (notice I didn’t say defiance) But, if there is one thing that is evident, and because she tells me so, she just doesn’t like having her mom hang around. So “my” first prom, didn’t go as I had imagined, perhaps dreamed, it would be.  I was a first time prom mom, from a distance.  Oh yeah, that deserves a double sad face!
😦 😦
So here’s my first daughter’s prom, from the eyes of her mom. And if you knew the whole story, as to why I HAD to take a back seat, you’d understand. Ok, here goes: no shopping for dress with her; DID order/take care of/pay for  the flowers (because I asked her if she had done it. Nope!); no assisting her with getting ready the day of; no pre-prom pictures with her date, other kids and their parents; DID go to post-prom red carpet event, DID intend on momma-razzi-ing her and her date as they arrived, walked the red carpet, and entered Festival Hall. And as usual, got the worst snapshots in the world. Wouldn’t you know my iPhone died right as I was going to snap a picture of her and said date.
So here’s this first time prom mom’s memories, captured in pictures:
Gab's prom my vantage point 2013
My vantage point at Racine Country Club pre-prom pictures/dinner. I’m not one of the moms in that crowd. I am taking this shot from the street, as we zoom by in the car. Hope someone takes some good photos from me.
Gabby's prom the rebels are coming
The Rebels are coming! The Rebels are coming! ^ That blurriness, my friends, is their motorcade coming from their school, arriving at post prom festivities.
Gabby's prom 2013
Remember, before I was able to get that shutter to snap…SNAP! my stupid phone battery died. Where’s the real camera you ask? Well, not sure. Haven’t seen that since our last “first-time” event. My 10 year old’s first daddy & me dance. So fortunate to have captured this unknown young man and his infamous date, the blow up doll. Nice.
Well, and for those first-timers to be, you must know that the prom does NOT stop at 3am when it’s lights on, get out kids, go home time from Festival Hall. Oh no no no. A Sunday after must…an overnight trip to the Dells. Monday…Senior Skip Day. I am still trying to piece together (not because I’m nosey)..I just want to “experience” her experience.
I am the Prom Mom, Non. And I’m sticking to my story. What great memories! Well, you make what you can of it all.

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