The Garden of Dreams Prom

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Inaugural Garden of Dreams Prom was a magical night for 52 teens where children who have battled serious medical issues had the chance to enjoy prom with children from partner organization WHEDco, who put their own struggles aside to give back to the community by helping provide a memorable evening for another child. In the weeks leading up to prom, the teens were enthused about the big day as they got to know each other at various bowling events and by shopping together for their outfits.

“I like the fact that we are doing events like this because it helps us with our social skills, creates friendships and boosts our self-esteem,” said Tyrese of his experience with the events leading up to the Garden of Dreams Prom.

Prom day began on the morning of April 8th at the Affinia Manhattan Hotel where the girls received the full beauty treatment from the professionals at MAC and Bumble & Bumble. There were many special guests, such as the Rockettes, former Miss USA Nana Meriwether, model Kim Strother and Prom Chairwoman Damaris Lewis, on hand to assist with the primping. For the boys, the Barber Bart team joined us to provide haircuts and shapeups and Knicks Alumni John Starks and Larry Johnson stopped in to help out with putting their final looks together. After hair and make-up were complete, the children changed into their prom outfits and joined each other back at the Astor Hall in the Affinia Manhattan Hotel. In the Astor Hall, the teens took photos and exchanged corsages and boutonnieres before boarding the party bus to The Theater at Madison Square Garden for Prom.

Upon arrival at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, the teens were greeted by a red carpet leading into the Prom that resembled a New York City movie premiere lined with reporters and photographers all trying to capture the guests of honor. Each teen made their way down the red carpet which led them to the Enchanted Garden, but not without one big surprise – former New York Giants player and host of Live with Kelly and Michael and Good Morning America, Michael Strahan.

Prom guest, Jeremy, explained to Fuse’s Georgie Okell, “I was answering how I was inspired by Michael Strahan’s style and out of nowhere, he just popped up. It was very surprising!” The best surprise however, was the scene inside the Enchanted Garden.

Large pastel colored balloons floating above the dance floor, twinkling trees and flowers galore decorated the space of the Garden of Dreams Inaugural Prom. DJ Rumor spun the hottest tunes to get the party started, and just as everyone hit the dance floor, Gym Class Heroes front man and solo singer/rapper Travie McCoy came out performing his hit song, “Billionaire” to which every child at Prom started singing along in astonishment. In addition to the delicious buffet spread, Garden of Dreams Board Member and restaurateur Drew Neiporent was in attendance to serve his very own “Drew’s Burgers”. After dinner, it was all about having pure fun! The candy bar and cotton candy machine were huge hits as well as the photo station provided by Jason McDonald photography. The very last song was an amazing way to end a beautiful evening as DJ Rumor played “We Are Young” by Fun. As the song began, the teens quickly formed a circle around the dance floor by interlocking arms, swaying side-to-side and singing the words to each other. Towards the end of the song, the teens began to gather the colored balloons floating above the dance floor and huddled together. Continuing to sway side-to-side with the balloons in-hand, the teens waited until the very end of “We Are Young” to release the balloons and signify the end to an unforgettable night in the Enchanted Garden.

Check out the photos and videos to receive an inside look into the Garden of Dreams Inaugural Prom!