On April 4 and 5, Carmel Baptist Church in Matthews, held an event very much loved by the church.
This was their seventh annual Joy Prom. Joy Prom is a free event that allows people 16 and older who have special needs to attend their own special prom.
They are welcomed by smiles and clapping hands and cheered on as they walk the red carpet. The young women were glammed up with tiaras and corsages. The young men got their shoes shined by the volunteers. Their hosts accompanied them throughout the events of the night. They can also go to one of the three eating times and have desserts and pastries in the Worship Center.
The guests were able to choose between two dance rooms: one upstairs and the other in the recreational outreach center, or ROC. The upstairs dance room features a DJ and the ROC has a live band performing.
The church holds this event based on their belief of that they should serve other people who are less fortunate than them and since they cannot repay you in money you will be repaid by the joy serving others according to Pastor Alex Kennedy.
The media coordinator, Kelley Burch, has been doing this since the beginning, in 2008.
“It is a hard job but it is all worth it in the end,” she said. “I am always so excited to help out with this event.”
“Joy Prom is one of the most exciting events in the life of our church,” said former senior pastor Wayne Poplin.
Everyone seems to love this event including Jennete Bicket, who has hosted for 6 years in the event.
“There is nothing like seeing the smile on their faces. I love the feeling you get when you help people,” Bicket said.
Even the teenagers from the church’s youth group are involved in the event. They serve, host and greet people. Half of the people who signed up to help are the teenagers of the church. Some people from outside the church are starting to volunteer. The word of Joy Prom is spreading to other states. Some of the guests that arrived are not even from North Carolina. This event has 1,500 people volunteering.
There are also other Joy Proms in other cities such as Raleigh and Johnson City, Las Vegas, Kernersville, Myrtle Beach, and Orlando.
“This is the event that people will never forget for both the servers, hosts and guests,” Lewis said.