Annual prom hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)
TYLER – Complete with chandeleiers, orchids, and a silk-draped ballroom with a Parisian motif, the fourth annual prom for Tyler youth in foster care was a memorable evening – thanks to the collective efforts of local businesses, organizations and donors.
BCFS Health and Human Services-Tyler along with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) held the annual prom on Saturday, March 5, 2016, at the Hilton Garden Inn. The Midnight in Paris Prom offered youth in foster care the opportunity to enjoy the high school tradition of prom.
About 77 Tyler youth clad in tuxedos and evening gowns attended the prom. The Men’s Wearhouse in Tyler offered a discount on tuxedo rentals for the young men. In addition to some gently used evening gowns acquired through BCFS in Tyler’s Project Cinderella dress drive, Brides and Belles of Tyler boutique donated 42 brand new dresses from which young ladies could choose for their prom night.
“Community support helped make this year’s prom especially memorable,” said BCFS Director Carla McCalope. “In addition to sponsors that we knew about weeks in advance, we had some last-minute sponsors who really helped make Midnight in Paris truly amazing for our youth.”
Youth rode to the prom in style courtesy of Lavish Limousines of Dallas. The youth danced and took home photo souvenirs courtesy of Complete Events DJ & Photography. Additional community sponsors include the Gregg County Child Welfare Board, the East Texas Symphony, Novedades Luly decorations and the Hilton Garden Inn & Suites, who donated the ballroom and food.
“Three ladies from the (East Texas Symphony) Board donated dresses and fresh flowers,” added McCalope. “They also gave a two-dozen red rose bouquet to our Prom Queen, Ms. Shelby.”
Shelby was giddy with excitement when she was crowned Prom Queen, alongside Denver, the young man voted Prom King.
“I feel the prettiest I have ever felt,” Shelby said. “It was the first time I had ever received flowers. I love my dress and thank you to the person that donated it to BCFS for Project Cinderella. It’s beautiful and I’m going to keep it forever.”
“Many of the youth we serve pursue their educations in non-traditional ways like charter schools, GED programs or online courses,” explained McCalope. “Though their circumstances are very unique, we try to offer them opportunities to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like prom, that other young people may take for granted.”
BCFS Health and Human Services-Tyler serves youth in and aging out of foster care, as well as other young adults facing challenges like homelessness, poverty, or those recovering from physical and emotional abuse. The center is a “one-stop shop” that provides counseling, case management, and assistance with education, employment, housing location and medical care.
For more information about BCFS’ work in Tyler, to volunteer or make a donation, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Tyler or call the center at (903) 526-0882.
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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.