The local chapter of Youth for Christ USA, Northern Colorado Youth for Christ, will host its eighth annual Higher Grounds Prom for all high school students who are wanting to experience a fun and formal night for free from 8 p.m.-midnight tonight at Higher Grounds Youth Center, 134 11th Ave., in Greeley.
The theme this year is Stomp in the Swamp, based on a Louisiana southern ball, and coordinators are expecting to have close to 150 students from various high schools in the Greeley area. That’s close to the same number they had last year.
“We have made our stage a house porch platoon and decorated with some weeping willows with candles hanging from branches,” said director of the organization’s The Farm and YFC Core, Jeff Neel.
The organization goes above and beyond to bring a prom that leaves students going back annually.
“We want every kid to feel incredibly special from the moment they enter. We want them to know they are so valuable and that they are worth throwing the best prom Greeley has to offer,” Neel said.
The Higher Grounds Prom also offers students the opportunity to choose from a variety of prom dresses and suits and for girls to have their makeup and hair done for free.
“I’ve known of students who decided not to attend their high school prom because they can’t afford it. Some students pay up to $300 in prom. It can get expensive,” Neel said.
The prom also gives opportunities for students who attend alternative schools that don’t offer end of the year proms to experience such an even.
“This is a different kind of prom in that it is a little more open to kids of any group. We make it a purpose to make them feel important and that they matter,” Neel said.
Like every year they will have a red carpet entrance with “paparazzi” and an interviewer asking kids about questions. New this year, two horse-drawn carriages, which suit the theme.
The organization’s prom committee began planning for the event in August, but two weeks ago members put their thoughts into action and began to put everything together.
Several local businesses donated funds for the event and many adults put in their time to create their decorations and make food that will be served at the event. More than 20 volunteer adults will be there for supervision.
Executive Director Ryan Dougherty said those who volunteer do so because they want to impact the children they are serving.
“We are people who care about kids and are eager to show them hope, specially when some of these kids are unhappy in the way their life is going. We are caring mentors,” Dougherty said.
Any students as long as they are in high school are invited to the prom.
“In a way we want to show acceptance and love to all these kids the same way God does to us,” Neel said.