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Special prom to be held in Chamberlain

CHAMBERLAIN -- People with developmental disabilities in the Chamberlain area will have the opportunity to dance to a day specifically for them. Approximately 70 people are registered to attend a special prom event scheduled for May 28 at the Ame...

CHAMBERLAIN - People with developmental disabilities in the Chamberlain area will have the opportunity to dance to a day specifically for them.

Approximately 70 people are registered to attend a special prom event scheduled for May 28 at the AmericInn in Chamberlain.

"In the past, a lot of them didn't have the opportunity to go to a prom, so a lot of them I've talked to are excited to go," event organizer Jessica Meagher said. "It just gives them something special to do."

There will be a dinner provided, a dance, a photo booth and a grand march, all things Meagher wanted to incorporate to create an authentic experience for attendees. The ballroom at the hotel will be decorated in a "Hollywood Nights" theme.

The idea, Meagher said, is a spinoff of a similar event put on by the Shriners Hospitals for Children - Twin Cities in Minneapolis. Meagher's daughter, Morgan, was formerly a patient at the hospital, where a prom event was held for the patients. In past years, Meagher and her boyfriend, Dennis Reed, sponsored a fishing tournament in Chamberlain, with the funds raised being donated to help put on the prom in Minneapolis. But, this year, Meagher put the money toward creating the same opportunity for people in South Dakota.

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"The community has been really supportive in our fundraising, and people have stepped up to help," Meagher said.

People of any age with a developmental disability are invited and encouraged to attend, and nobody will be turned away, Meagher said. In fact, she said there are children as young as 10 years old planning to attend, as well as adults well into their 70s, and plenty in between.

With such a wide age gap comes one problem, Meagher said, and that is finding music everyone will enjoy. So, while attendees are searching for dresses, tuxes and corsages leading up to the prom, they are also choosing and submitting their favorite tunes to be played throughout the night. That, in turn, gives everybody at least a sampling of what they want to hear, Meagher said.

"There's certainly a wide variety," Meagher said. "It's something really unique."

Highlighting that she hasn't heard of any similar events in the region, Meagher said the event is a special opportunity for people with special needs, or who need special accommodations, to experience a prom, whether that be for the first time or not. If all goes well in May, she hopes to make it an annual event.

Anyone interested in attending the event should call Meagher at (605) 234-4007.

Related Topics: CHAMBERLAIN
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