South Central Industries Night to Dream set; volunteers sought for Shawnee prom

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
South Central Industries will host its Night to Dream prom for individuals with special needs from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 11 at FaithCo Church in Shawnee on HWY 177. The organization is seeking volunteers.

South Central Industries (SCI) is gearing up for its Night to Dream prom.

In Shawnee, SCI clients and other individuals with special needs will dress to the nines and put on their dancing shoes to attend the February event.

Set from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 11, at FaithCo Church in Shawnee on HWY 177, the celebration is open to SCI clients, as well as special needs individuals in the community who would like to attend. The prom is free for participants ages 14 and older through the help of financial partnerships and sponsorships.

South Central hosted its first Night to Dream in February 2020.

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SCI's Night to Dream prom for individuals with special needs will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 11 at FaithCo Church in Shawnee on HWY 177.

“It truly was one of the most magical nights imaginable,” SCI Executive Director Tina Hanna said. “Watching the smiles, dancing, magic shows, karaoke and even tears of joy were extremely heartwarming — and that was from the volunteers.”

The participants had an even more magical experience, she said.

Working with community partners, SCI has raised funds and volunteer support.

“Being a part of this and seeing how much work and involvement the community is interested in having is amazing,” SCI Marketing Director Kaylee Jones said. “People are so excited to give back to our clients and people across the state who haven’t been able to participate in a prom before.”

For those attending the prom, some of the activities will include receiving a personal crown or tiara, and boutonniere or corsage, and walking the red carpet. Activities like dancing, karaoke, dinner, desserts, face painting, photo booths, magicians, balloon art and special musical groups will round out the evening.

Elvis breaks out the moves at a 2020 prom event. South Central Industries will host its Night to Dream prom for individuals with special needs from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 11 at FaithCo Church in Shawnee on HWY 177. The organization is seeking  volunteers.

Through the support of the Shawnee community, these activities and accoutrements are free to participants, Hanna said.

“Even if you’re not into dancing, there are also a lot of other exciting ways to have a great time,” she said.

The capacity for the event will be 100 participants, but SCI is seeking to pair attendees with prom buddies — each to serve as an escort for the evening — along with 200 volunteers, Jones said.

Some of the tasks needing staffing are set-up and tear-down, check-in and registration, photography, dinner service, activity hosts, parking assistance and greeters and ushers.

Volunteering is open to anyone in the community, whether through a group or individually.

The deadline for applying to be a volunteer is Jan. 24. Volunteers must be at least age 18.

Sponsorship opportunities are being offered at varying levels, Jones said.

“From sponsoring one participant and prom buddy volunteer to meeting a more expansive need, monetary donations or in-kind sponsorships are all accepted,” she said.

The Night to Dream Prom is not just an SCI event; it is an opportunity for any individual in the community with special needs (age 14 and older) to experience a prom.

Elvis poses for a photo with a fan at SCI's 2020 prom event. South Central Industries will host its Night to Dream prom for individuals with special needs from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 11 at FaithCo Church in Shawnee on HWY 177. The organization is seeking  volunteers.

“Night to Dream allows the Shawnee community to show support for this population that is sometimes overlooked,” Hanna said. “The support, advocacy and encouragement we have received on their behalf for this program is overwhelming.”

“Prom is a rite of passage that most of us take for granted,” Hanna said. “Most of us participated in high school once or a couple of times. Being able to create that experience for someone who wasn’t able to participate, or wasn’t comfortable participating prior to now, is an exciting project for us to do — and worthwhile.”

About SCI

The nonprofit, SCI, was founded in 1981 to provide vocational training, employment opportunities and residential services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Clients receive vocational training as part of the organization’s original mission, but they also have opportunities to volunteer with local groups like Meals on Wheels, a food pantry and lifestyle enrichment opportunities like exercise and cooking classes.

“We strive to provide a full opportunity for all of our clients to be a part of the community and live a full and satisfying life,” Jones said.

For more information about SCI services and/or the prom, or volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit https://southcentralindustriesinc.com/night-to-dream/ or call (405) 275-3851.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.

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