MERIDIAN -- Do you remember your high school prom? It's a rite of passage for high school students, a chance to dress up and shine. But not everyone gets the chance to go, especially students with special needs.
A mom right here in the Treasure Valley was inspired to put together a special prom for her son, and all of his friends - so that they could shine too. Word of mouth spread, and she had no idea it would become as big as it did.
I'm beyond excited, said Shine! prom organizer, Joy Cameron. I don't even have words to describe how excited I am right now.
Cameron's date for the night - and inspiration for organizing the prom - was her son, Cody, who has autism.
My son is turning 18, and doesn't go to public school and I knew the only way he was going to get to experience prom was if I gave him one, said Cameron.
So, with the help of a team of volunteers, Cameron began the work of putting together a prom that ended up being much larger than she initially expected.
I'm just blown away, I thought we may have 25 to 30 people, I even had 5 people RSVP this morning, said Cameron. We're expecting about 150 people tonight.
Cameron works with people with special needs, and she knew prom is something many have missed out on.
This is for not only those who are high school age, but for everyone who never had that opportunity, this prom is for them, said Cameron. They get to be who they are, which is incredible and be able to shine!
Just about everything was donated -- The music, the food, and the venue at the new Julius Kleiner Park in Meridian.
Even the dresses were donated. Cameron set up a makeshift boutique in her house. I had more fun, I think, getting to see them try on dresses, then to see them wearing them tonight, it's the best.
It was truly a night to remember, and it looks like Shine! will be back. Cameron is considering making the prom an annual event. She hopes more parents of special needs kids will get involved.
To all the parents out there who have kids with special needs, just know they can live life to the fullest and they can participate, said Cameron. Their dreams and their world is as wide as you are willing to make it!