Developmental Disabilities Spring Prom draws high numbers

Zan Mullett kept checking the clock. Dressed in his “fancy clothes,” he waited with boxed corsage in hand for his date to arrive at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center on Wednesday evening.

Finally, Taylor Brown arrived in her formal with a smile on her lips as Mullett slipped the colorful corsage onto her wrist, posed for photos and were on their way to dance the night away at the Developmental Disabilities of Clark County’s Spring Prom.

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The event drew about 270 young adults, adults or married couples dressed in formals and tiaras, suits, tuxedos, jeans and T-shirts to enjoy prom season.

The number was a 46 percent increase over the previous year. DDCC staff, Springfield Rotary Club members, families and volunteers helped out.

It’s the second year Rotary has partnered with DDCC, bringing several more volunteers than in 2017. Helping those with disabilities is one of the organization’s priorities.

Rotary’s Services to People with Disabilities executive director Bonita Heeg attributed bringing the event to a facility like Hollenbeck Bayley and word getting out in the community contributed to the higher attendance.

“We’ve tried to make it as regular a prom as possible,” she said. “There are photos, a photo booth, and it can accommodate wheelchairs so everybody is included.”

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They also encourage the attendees’ independence as many get to socialize with friends they don’t get to see often. Heeg said social interaction and etiquette are part of the plan.

“The neat thing is they can integrate with the Rotarians,” said Jenny Miller, superintendent of Developmental Disabilities of Clark County and a Rotarian. “They have a regular dance each month and this is a highlight for them having a space large enough for this.

“We have a strong community respect for people who are different and place a lot of value on that.”

This year has been busy for Rotary with King Letsie III of Lesotho’s recent visit, its upcoming fifth Springfield Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition, Dream Soccer program and Christmas party for children with disabilities.

“We have a lot of things coming to fruition. It makes you feel like a million dollars to see the smiles on these faces,” said Bill Brougher, Rotary president.

David Howard didn’t smile when he lost his leg to complications from diabetes and three failed knee replacements. It returned with Rotary’s help offsetting the cost of a prosthetic limb a little over a year ago.

He was on the floor dancing on Wednesday, able to haul himself up by his motorized scooter.

“I love it. Rotary does the best for Springfield, Ohio,” Howard said.

The attendees mingled and boogied to dance floor songs like “YMCA” and “Cha Cha Slide.” It was something Mullett’s mom, Robyn Fell, loved seeing.

“He doesn’t get included in many things and he’s a totally different person here,” she said. “He has no fear to dance.”

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