WE DID IT!!!! On Saturday, March 11, Team Inclusive Prom held its very first Inclusive Prom for high school students across Acadiana. It was a glorious evening of fashion, dancing, smiles, and laughter from the students and the adult chaperones alike.
Walking into Wonderland Performing Arts that night was like a trip down the rabbit hole. Once the students got through the bag check at the door, they were greeted by the first of many photo opportunities including a giant size Cheshire Cat, graciously donated by The Mystic Krewe of Apollo de Lafayette. Registration was flawless thanks to our amazing volunteers. Approximately 85 tickets were reserved, and we had over 50 students in attendance. Walking down the foliage lined hallway to get to the dance floor, you were met with bread and butterflies hanging from the ceiling, tissue paper flowers in abundance, and a tunnel made out of vines. DJ Digital rocked the house all night while Alice in Wonderland clips played on the big screen.
Sweet 3 Bakery provided Alice in Wonderland themed sweet treats. Social Entertainment was there with their amazing photo booth, enjoyed by all. Rachel Rafati was our official photographer of the evening. Set up at our “royal throne” made by Dory Thomassie, she took pictures all night, ensuring everyone felt like Prom Royalty.
One of the biggest hits of the evening (and a last-minute addition), thanks to Alexandra Culotta, was our sensory room. She brought mats, pillows, blankets, and a noise machine for when things got too loud or overwhelming on the dance floor.
When all was said and done, we were about $300 over budget. In the grand scheme of things, we are VERY happy with how the event played out. We got great feedback and have already set a date for next year (March 9 in case you’re wondering). We have also had a “Prom Debrief” and have a number of lessons learned.
Going forward, we’ll be more intentional with our event. With more time to plan we’ll be able to look at options to save money, including venue, theme (decorations), etc. We’ll limit the number of adults we have in attendance, and we’re looking into branded merch per the request of many of the teens. We will keep the budget for 2024 the same ($4k) and will start fundraising immediately.
Special thanks to all of the volunteers who helped make this event such a success. Without your support, time, artistic ability, donations, food, and love for the community, none of this would be possible.
Acadiana Queer Collective is eternally grateful for the opportunity awarded by 24HCP and the community as a whole. These events and experiences continue to support our mission by creating safe spaces in Acadiana for the LGBTQ+ community. We look forward to seeing what the future has in store.
Inclusive Prom is only 4 DAYS AWAY. We have been meeting regularly, voting on this and that, & currently trying to tie up any loose ends. We have received tremendous support from local community groups: The Family Tree/Jacob Crouch Suicide Prevention, PFLAG Lafayette, Safe Havynn, & We Demand More. Together with individual community members excited for the cause, we are extremely proud to present this event. Our volunteers are getting ready to transform Wonderland Performing Arts into a beautiful trip through the mirror and into Wonderland.
This year’s Inclusive Prom will take place on Saturday, March 11, 2023. The theme for this year’s prom is Alice in Wonderland. As of the time of this writing, 80 of 150 tickets (or 53%) have been sold. For the safety of participants and to give the best possible experience, ticket sales will close two days before the event. A team of vetted chaperones will be working the event.
Big News! DJ Digital will be spinning tunes, promising to make this event way cooler than the person writing this thank you letter and update. With top shelf music, refreshments sponsored by River Oaks Hospital (New Orleans), swag bags for each attendee, and a photo booth, this will be an event not to be missed. (And not to brag, but the planning committee may be working on some pretty sweet costumes.)
As of this writing, we have spent approximately $3200 of the $4000 we received from 24HCP. Thank you for seeing us. Given the current trend of adolescent depression, book bans, and LUS denying a request to hang a banner for Pride, we appreciate you standing up for justice and celebrating diversity.
For all of those Acadiana High School students who wouldn’t be able to take their special date to the prom, or who for whatever reason don’t feel comfortable showing up as their authentic self, for those who may be bullied or feel isolated, for those who would not otherwise get a prom, and for those who want an opportunity to meet other high school students from Acadiana, this is for you. But you know, hurry and get your tickets because only 47% remain and this is going to be a super fun event you don’t want to miss.
Since receiving the $4,000 from the 24 Hour Citizens Project we have hit the ground running! Inclusive Prom will be taking place on Saturday, March 11th from 7:00-10:00pm. Team Inclusive Prom was initially made up of member of Acadiana Queer Collective but has since grown to include; The Family Tree/Jacob Crouch Suicide Prevention, PFLAG Lafayette, Safe Havynn, and We Demand More. We have met twice so far to begin planning Inclusive Prom and will be meeting with a potential host for the event today. We haven’t spent any money yet and instead are inquiring with vendors and potential sponsors who can offer us in-kind donations to supplement the budget we’ve already created. We will be offering each participant at prom a Swag Bag full of goodies and resources from around the community. We also hope to have a raffle that offers each participant the opportunity to win awesome prizes. Currently, across social media platforms we are asking the community to vote on a theme for prom–currently it’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ vs. “The 4 Elements” and “Retro” vs, “Over the Rainbow” in a head-to-head match. We will be sharing the winners of this match soon so that voting for the final theme can happen.