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7's HERO: A prom for adults with developmental disabilities is a huge hit in Nampa

Spud State Cares is a local nonprofit that provides fun social activities and experiences for adults in our community with special needs.

NAMPA, Idaho — There is a nonprofit in Nampa that is doing amazing things for the Treasure Valley's special needs community. It's called Spud State Cares and offers events and activities for adults with special needs in our community. 

"Spud State Cares is a not for profit in the area," Jenny Fultz, board member for Spud State Cares, said. "We exist to offer people connection, adventure and joy for those with developmental disabilities in our area." 

Spud State Cares was founded in 2017, and it has been growing ever since. That was evident when KTVB stopped by the organization's spring prom. It had a luau theme, and a record crowd.

"People from all around the valley are excited to be here and wear their best clothes and come dance and be with friends," Fultz said. "We had over 300 RSVPs, which is about triple the amount that we had last year." 

Prom-goer Aaron Cheesbrough noticed the size of the crowd right away. 

"It's way bigger than what last time was for sure," Cheesbrough said.  

He couldn't wait to hit the dance floor with his show stopping dance moves. 

"It's just a blast! Just a lot of dancing and partying, and your heart feels content, it's just fun," Cheesbrough said with a big smile. 

Fultz says it's all about inclusion and creating enriching experiences for people of all ages. 

"We have a lot of folks here that love to gather and experience the things that other neurotypical people get to experience in high school or beyond, and they want to have events too," Fultz said. "Here at the prom, we have a free lunch for everybody in attendance, we've got a photo booth where they can print out their photos on the spot, we have a DJ that's spinning the tunes in there, we have backdrops where there's a king and a queen, sash and crown for anyone who would like to be king or queen for the day. And, we have scores of volunteers inside ready to make sure that this is an event that nobody will forget." 

Jared Harlow is another attendee, he told us he looks forward to this prom each year.

"It kind of feels like a high school dance," Harlow said. "It's a lot of fun to go back and do that again. You get to go out, you get to meet your friends, and just goof off and be yourself and have a lot of fun." 

This is Lilly Markin's very first Spud State Cares prom. She says she plans to come back next year, too. 

"I started enjoying it, I started dancing with the music," Markin said. "I think everyone's wonderful, and everyone is dressed so beautiful and amazing, it was incredible." 

Spud State Cares sees the need in our community, and the volunteers with the nonprofit want to do even more for those with developmental disabilities. 

"So, we just create activities for them, we do this throughout the year, not just with our prom, but we have events during the fall like our trunk and treat, we have a Christmas morning brunch, and then we actually have events all year Monday through Friday at our Nampa recreation room," Fultz said. "We would love for people to get involved. We are quickly outgrowing our space, so what we really need is financial assistance to afford the rent at a larger facility. We also really are looking for board members to join us. Mostly, we would love volunteers to come alongside us and have great ideas to offer." 

More resources and support means more fun and more friends for people like Aaron, Lilly, and Jared.  

"We believe that everyone deserves to live their fullest life."

Spud State Cares offers so many fun weekly activities, and they have a full calendar on their website

The nonprofit also provides financial assistance for housing, utilities, groceries or special events. 

If you want to get involved with this amazing nonprofit, reach out! They'd love to hear from you.

Watch more '7's Hero'

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