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Residents and staff of Conway Human Development Center enjoy the Valentine’s Day Prom

Date: 03/01/2018

People decked out in formal dresses, nice suits, or shirt and tie packed the Conway Human Development Center gymnasium. The residents, staff – and even a few of the resident’s parents – smiled, laughed, jumped around, sung, and danced to popular tunes from the likes of Boyz II Men, Earth Wind and Fire, Beyoncè, and Kool & The Gang.    

Perched on the gymnasium stage, surrounded by six of their fellow residents, were Ginger Holliman and Logan Wooten.  The crowd clapped and cheered when Holliman and Wooten found out they were queen and king of the center’s first-ever Valentine’s Day Prom.

The event was a huge moment for the center, which is a residential training facility for individuals with developmental disabilities. Chances for residents to have a normal life are an important part of their education.  That’s why the prom was significant.                   

“A lot of our clients have never had a chance to attend a prom,” said Kimberly Garlington the center’s residential leader. “They shopped for their own dresses and their own suits.”

“Our clients love music. That’s another reason why we had the prom because they love dancing and they love music,” Garlington says. “I put this program together to see a smile on their faces. I knew they’d have a good time.” 

Wooten – who wore black slacks, black vest, a bowtie, and a yellow shirt – eagerly accepted his king’s sash and crown.

“I had a lot of fun. I liked the trees and lights in the gym,” he said through his interpreter. “I like the crown, too.” 

Holliman, who wore a pink dress and a white shawl, smiled while looking at the applauding crowd following the announcement.

“I had a good time,” the middle-aged woman said. “I like the tiara. I also liked getting ready for the prom.”

The prom consisted of more than classic jams, energetic dance moves, and people dressed to the nines.

There were opportunities few of these party-goers had ever had before. At the event, they had a chance to take photos, get small puzzles, pinwheels, and stick-on tattoos.

According to Teresa Bailey, the center’s quality assurance coordinator, the prom couldn’t have gone any better.

“Seeing the prom come together like it did was special,” Bailey said. “The residents had fun getting dressed up. I also believe the staff had fun helping the residents dress up for prom.”  

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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