Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Little Help from Prom Night Angels

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"It’s [homeslessness] hard on kids,
and we make sure we protect them as much as possible,
and make sure they can engage with the world,
and not miss out on important things just
because of their family’s situation at that time.
For a kid in high school, the prom is really important."
~Dora Carter, Angel's Watch Program Manager
Kevin had a secret he didn’t want his mom, Tasha, to know: he really, really wanted to go to his high school prom.

The family had been through a lot lately. For the safety of herself and her three kids, Tasha turned to Catholic Charities' Angel’s Watch Shelter, a safe place for families overcoming domestic violence and homelessness to get back on their feet. Because of his mom’s delicate situation, Kevin knew going to the prom would be financially impossible.

“He wouldn’t come out and say it, but I could tell he wanted to go,” Tasha said. “I didn’t know what to do.” She mentioned the problem to her case manager, Dayon Jackson, and Dayon talked with Dora Carter, program manager at Angel’s Watch.

“First thing we did was make a list,” Dora said. “Everything he’d need – a tuxedo, tickets for him and a date, a haircut. We were getting really excited about the prom, and we weren’t even the ones going.

"Once we knew what was needed, we turned to the Southern Maryland Women’s League, who are big supporters of our work, and they came through with the funds Kevin needed.”

When Dora and Dayon told Tasha the news, she burst into tears. And when Tasha told her son, he started crying too – but not for long. He had a lot of planning to do: picking out a tuxedo (black with midnight blue trimmings), arranging a ride, and – the hardest part of all – asking a date, one of his classmates. She said yes!

“Kevin’s been shy during his time at our shelter,” Dora said. “It’s hard on kids, and we make sure we protect them as much as possible, and make sure they can engage with the world, and not miss out on important things just because of their family’s situation at that time. For a kid in high school, the prom is really important. You can see this opportunity gave Kevin a lot of confidence and boosted his self-esteem. It was really moving.”

Tasha agreed. “It was wonderful for me to see my son so excited and feeling positive,” she said. “He took so many pictures and had the most wonderful time. He even danced the two-step with his date!”

Angel's Watch serves women and their children fleeing abuse and homelessness in Charles County, MD. To protect their privacy and safety, clients’ names have been changed in this story and no client photographs were used. You can support Angel's Watch with an online donation