MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The red carpet, the sit down dinner, the live band. For many people, prom is one night they won't forget. For families with a special needs child, it is a night they didn't think they would ever get to have.
Beach Church held their first Joy Prom, an event for special needs children to experience their very own prom. The event was completely free for families to enjoy, a night of dancing and fun for children with special needs.
"It doesn't matter what the disability is, what the need is, it's open to everybody," says Lisa Viele, a mother attending the prom with her family.
Prom goers arrived in style with a red carpet entrance. Local businesses came together to donate what they could for the evening. Everything from food to photography was provided for the families.
"They know how to work with these children, they have a heart for it, have a desire to make a difference. A kid with special needs will change your heart forever," says Viele.
There was a live band, professional pictures, and a sit down dinner.
"A lot of times our kids don't feel - a part of something. They just wanted to make the kids feel, and their parents, like they were part of something, of real life, normal life," explains Viele.
For many, the prom wasn't just about dressing up and going out.
"We have two other children that can experience this, but Lizzie wouldn't have been able to on such a personal level. They know her here, care about her, she fits in here," says Viele, regarding her daughter with special needs.
It was an experience that showed many families they aren't alone, giving them a support system and providing an experience for their children that many families said they wouldn't be able to have otherwise.
"These kids just have pure joy, unconditional love. They're laughing and enjoying themselves and it was just an amazing night, it really was," says Viele.
Local nurses and doctors volunteered their time, making parents feel even more comfortable that their child was in a safe environment.