By Trey Sadler
Every year, Southland Christian Church hosts a night that makes people with disabilities feel like kings and queens: the Jesus Prom.
Volunteers escort community members to the event to show them a night of dancing and compassion, said Pastor Brewster McLeod, of Southland Christian Church.
“I’ve always had a heart for special needs people,” he said. McLeod was originally inspired to create Jesus Prom while getting his start at Southland as a youth minister.
McLeod said he hopes those who participate in the prom “feel a sense of value.”
“Here’s a guy that truly believes everyone is as good as everyone else,” said writer Steve Flairty, a columnist for KyForward who was there selling his book, “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #3.”
“Brewster wants people with developmental disabilities to experience the same kind of activities that everyone else can,” he said.
The event’s theme was “Happy Days,” which was reflected through costumes, music and decorations.
Volunteer and Lexington resident Melissa Moore attended the event with friends to swing dance and dance to the cha-cha.
“Everybody in this world enjoys fun,” Moore said. “This is a really positive atmosphere.”
With a budget of $35,000 from the church and donations, prom participants can enjoy a night of dancing, games and food, McLeod said.
Volunteer opportunities for Jesus Prom included escorting the guests, photography, game rooms, the project team, managing the dance floor and serving food, McLeod said.
UK health promotion senior Kyle Rubini volunteered for the event and said she was motivated to volunteer for the people.
“This is the biggest night for someone with disabilities,” Rubini said.
Hailie Denton, an integrated strategic communication senior, also volunteered and reflected on the atmosphere.
“There’s a lot of positive energy,” Denton said. “It’s very friendly.”