Aby at St. Mary's prom in 2015.

Aby at St. Mary’s prom in 2015.


NORFOLK, Va. (May 17, 2016) — Eighteen young people with disabilities who live at St. Mary’s Home will dress up on Sunday, May 22, to enjoy that typical teen rite of passage: prom. And they’re going to do it in style, with a downtown hotel generously donating ballroom space and several other businesses providing dresses, decorations, flowers, music and styling assistance at no charge.

St. Mary’s has put on prom on its campus every year since 2006. This Sunday’s prom will be the first held off campus, from 3-5 p.m. at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. VisitNorfolk, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, connected St. Mary’s with the hotel, which also offered to provide food plus space for the teens – eight girls and 10 boys – to primp for the big occasion.

“This is going to bring something special to prom that we haven’t had before,” said Nicole Hoskins Jones, St. Mary’s director of recreational therapy, which organizes prom.

The dance is a huge team effort that also involves many staff from other departments, as well as the teens’ families. In addition, students from Grassfield High School in Chesapeake and members of Lifepoint Christian Fellowship in Chesapeake will volunteer at prom, which of course will include the crowning of a king and queen.

Several other local businesses also have agreed to donate products and services:

  • Random Breeze Boutique in Virginia Beach provided prom dresses the girls selected themselves.
  • The new Edward Johnson Salon in Norfolk will send stylists and a makeup artist to the hotel to do the girls’ hair and makeup.
  • The New Leaf florist in Norfolk will provide corsages and boutonnieres.
  • Premier Events of Virginia Inc., of Virginia Beach, offered to donate a décor package, including a mural backdrop, a red carpet with stanchions and velvet ropes, table linens and chair covers, and centerpieces for the tables.
  • Play It Again DJs of Newport News will provide the music.

In addition, the Auxiliary Board of St. Mary’s Home, an annual supporter of prom, will rent tuxedos for the boys and help with any additional expenses to make this event special.

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