Yorktown Sentry

Best Buddies Prom: A Night to Remember

This+year%2C+Best+Buddies+Prom+will+take+place+on+Friday%2C+April+27+at+the+Ronald+Reagan+Building+%26+International+Trade+Center+in+downtown+Washington+D.C.
This year, Best Buddies Prom will take place on Friday, April 27 at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in downtown Washington D.C.

This year, Best Buddies Prom will take place on Friday, April 27 at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in downtown Washington D.C.

Courtesy of Best Buddies Yorktown Twitter

Courtesy of Best Buddies Yorktown Twitter

This year, Best Buddies Prom will take place on Friday, April 27 at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in downtown Washington D.C.

Sofie Dalton, Sentry Staff Reporter

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Picture a group of incredible young people dedicated to promoting a world of inclusion and respect, dancing the night away and having a great time with their Best Buddies. That, in a nutshell, is Best Buddies Prom. This annual event hosted by Best Buddies Capital Region is for students of all abilities from Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. This year, Best Buddies Prom will take place on Friday, April 27 at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in downtown Washington D.C. Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the isolation of people with intellectual developmental disabilities through one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development.

This will be the fifth annual Best Buddies Prom in the Capital Region. For the students, it will feature music from DJ Neekola, a photo booth to help capture memories as well as appetizers and softs drinks. Prom is also an enjoyable experience for adults, who get to enjoy their own party in the same location as the student party, with a VIP tasting, an open bar and a silent and live auction.

Last year was the first time Prom took place at the Ronald Reagan Building and it was a huge success. Trade Center Management Associates (TCMA), the management company for the Ronald Reagan Building, is a sponsor and supporter of Best Buddies Capital Region and their venue has allowed Prom to accommodate over 1,000 people.

With the connections of our staff and board we were able to secure the Ronald Reagan Building for three years, so we have another year to look forward to after the 2018 Prom. We love that we can have both of our parties in one location, so our sponsors and parents can witness the true spirit of friendship and inclusion that this party embraces,” Best Buddies Capital Region Program Supervisor Rachel Letters said.

Tickets for Prom can be purchased at https://www.bestbuddies.org/crprom/ and they are $10 for students. The money raised from ticket sales and at Prom goes to operating and expanding Best Buddies Capital Region’s programs.

At the Capital Region, we use those funds to support our fifty school chapters,
our Citizens adult friendship program, our leadership development program and our Jobs program. We are working very hard on expansion, which includes two new colleges, three new high schools, two new middle schools, a corporate citizens chapter and new job placements,” Letters said.

Last year, the $300,000 dollars raised at Prom allowed the Capital Region to open the Citizens adult friendship program. The money raised through Prom helps ensure the expansion of Buddies in the Capital Region, which helps ensure that more people’s lives will be changed through this organization.

Best Buddies has had a monumental impact on so many individuals, and Prom is a highlight of many students’ experience with Best Buddies.

“[Prom] is really nice and you enjoy meeting new friends,” junior and Buddy Officer Alex Keith said.

“I would recommend people attending Best Buddies Prom because it is my favorite event and I think it is the best event we have all year, it’s so much fun… there’s people from all over the Capital Region and you can’t go to Best Buddies Prom and not fall in love with our mission and it’s really a chance for people to see what Best Buddies is all about, and really let loose and have fun with their chapters,” senior and Best Buddies President Rebecca Joskow said.

Yorktown is not the only Arlington Public School (APS) that attends Best Buddies Prom. Both Washington-Lee and Wakefield’s chapters participate in this highly anticipated event. Senior and Washington-Lee Best Buddies President, Essi Wunderman, looks forward to enjoying Prom with her chapter and her buddy Terry.

“I am absolutely convinced that I have the best buddy in the whole wide world …We have been buddies for three years now and each year, Best Buddies Prom has stood out as a highlight. Prom rocks because it’s an entire night dedicated to celebrating our friendship and friendships just like ours. We get to look beautiful, dance our hearts out, and scream along to our favorite songs, all within a room full of the friendliest faces in the Capital Region,” Wunderman said.

Another appealing aspect of Prom is that students can feel free to be themselves in a judgment free atmosphere. They can enjoy themselves and have fun with their friends.

“In my opinion, the best part of Best Buddies Prom is the dancing. Best Buddies provides an incredible environment filled with high energy and fun, and that truly shows in the dancing. Nobody is trying to impress anyone, they are just there to have a good time. I think it’s incredible that Best Buddies Prom is space for high schoolers to come out and just have fun,” Letters said.

Best Buddies Prom welcomes people of all abilities to have a fun night filled with music, dancing, food and inclusion. It also allows students who may normally feel isolated at school dances to feel included and to have a great group of friends to spend time with at Prom.

“[Prom] is a really wonderful opportunity for kids who don’t always get the chance to go into school dances with a fun group of friends, to be able to do that with Best Buddies Prom, and it’s all about inclusion and a great group of friends getting together,” Joskow said.

This event means so much to so many people who are involved with Best Buddies, from the parents who get to watch their kids laughing and dancing with good friends, to the peer buddies who enjoy a night growing closer to their buddies. Prom is particularly memorable for the buddies, who may be going to dance for the first time and feel empowered and included.

“Prom means a lot to me because school dances, while they can be a very fun thing for a lot of mainstream people, can be a really hard thing for people that might not necessarily have a solid group of friends, and it can make people feel isolated, and I just think that Prom is great because it gives people of all abilities this chance to have a really fun night and go to this huge, spectacular dance,” Joskow said.

Best Buddies Prom provides an atmosphere where all students can feel welcomed and have a great night. It is many students’ favorite event of the year and it combines great music, food and dancing together to create a memorable night for all. Prom 2018 will no doubt feature thousands of laughs, smiles, great dance moves and a night of inclusion and joy.

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Best Buddies Prom: A Night to Remember