MDS clients get ready for Project Hope Prom

Terry Summers stands for his last tux fitting as Melissa Atchley helps him with his bowtie in preparation for the Project Hope Prom this Sunday.

The clients at Mesa Developmental Services are starting to feel jittery from the intense excitement building up this week as they get ready to attend the annual Project Hope Prom Sunday night.

“No, I’m not going with anybody,” laughed Terry Summers as he tried on his black cumberband and tux for his final fitting Thursday afternoon.

“You’ll just dance with all the girls,” teased Melissa Atchley, Supportive Living Services coordinator at MDS.

Getting ready for the prom is almost as much fun as going, Atchley explained.

The women spent this week selecting dresses, shoes, and jewelry at Fellowship Church, organizer of the annual event.

“Sometimes when our clients hear about the prom they think it will be expensive,” Atchley said.

But, thanks to the generous support of the community and local businesses, MDS clients are able to attend the event free-of-charge.

For example, some of the women will be treated to fancy hair-do’s and makeup by the staff at Estilio’s Salon downtown.

All of the wardrobe was donated to the event by the community and distrubuted to the prom-goers. 

Atchley said many of the women will be meeting in the MDS offices starting at 3 p.m. to receive help with their hair and make-up from staff.

“We’ll be painting nails and providing lipstick—it’s just a whole lot of fun for the girls,” Atchley said.

The men were just as excited while standing in line for their tux fittings. The suits were donated by The Tux Shop.

“It’s kind of cute seeing them get handsome,” Atchley said, adding that many of her clients would never have the opportunity to dress up or eat a fancy dinner if not for the prom.

The event includes limosine rides to Two Rivers Convention Center, a full-course dinner, pictures and dancing to a variety of music.

“The DJ plays everrything from the hokey pokey to JZ and Beyonce,” Atchley said, “They really just let loose and have fun.”

Never has she seen a group of people have more fun than her clients do at this event. “It’s the talk around here for months,” she said.

Getting all of the MDS clients ready for the big night is a lot of work, Atchley said, “but in the end the outcome is just phenomenal.”

The Project Hope Prom will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday at Two Rivers Convention Center.



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