April 2, 2013 (Chula Vista) – On Friday, April 12, 2013 community volunteers Rob and Cheryl Shields will host the third annual “A Night to Remember Prom” at Eastlake Church in Chula Vista, CA. “A Night to Remember” is a free prom honoring students with special needs, ages 14-22 years old. Financial support and in-kind donations are needed to defray the costs of the event and to ensure students and their families can participate at no cost.
“A Night to Remember” is a celebration where students with special needs are honored, loved and accepted among their peers. It’s night of integration, where each special needs student or “Honored Guest” as they are called, is hosted by a high school student who is by their side for the night – to dance with them, eat with them and party with them. As a result of the pairing, an understanding of each student’s unique giftedness develops and friendships form.
Thanks to the generous support of individual sponsors and company donations in years past, each Honored Guest has attended the prom free of charge. Their night includes a prom dress or tuxedo, costume jewelry, hair and make-up, corsage or boutonnière, swag bag, professional photos, limo ride and walk down the redcarpet with paparazzi. It costs approximately $100 per Honored Guest to host the prom and because the students attend for free, the entire prom is financed with donations.
“The prom is just a month away and we are still in need of financial donations and in-kind gifts to make the event not only free, but special for our Honored Guests,” says Rob Shields. “This is a once in a lifetime experience for these students who typically do not attend prom. Prom holds a special place in all our hearts and these wonderful children deserve the same. We are asking the San Diego community to financially participate in this event. No donation is too small.”
This event is founded and directed by Rob and Cheryl Shields, who were inspired by a similar event in Rob’s hometown of Rockford, IL. It touched their hearts and they felt the desire to bring a similar event to San Diego.
In 2011, the first year of "A Night to Remember", the Shields optimistically expected 50 area high school students to register, but more than 300 attended. After having to turn away dozens of students due to space limitations, they planned for an additional 200 student the second year, but had to close registration at 550. This year, they have made room for 800 high school students: 400 honored guests and 400 hosts.
“For the previous two proms, we have personally raised financial support for this event from family and friends,” says Cheryl Shields. “We have also collected literally hundreds of formal gowns, costume jewelry andthousands of dollars of gifts-in-kind from local businesses. Because of the growing popularity of the event, and the significant costs necessary to provide this first-class night free of charge, we are again asking friends and family, community groups and businesses to partner with us and make a difference in the lives of students that are often marginalized.”
For further information regarding this event or to donate to the cause, please visit www.anighttorememberprom.com or contact Cheryl Shields directly at Cheryl@anighttorememberprom.com. Donations are tax-deductible.
Checks should be made payable to “A Night to Remember Prom” and mailed to 3030 Market St., San Diego, CA 92102. Credit carddonations are accepted online at www.aNighttoRememberProm.com (under Donate). On this website you can also register to volunteer at the event or view videos and photos from prior proms.