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The real "Senior Prom" in Pulaski VA

/Dot (volunteer *yes with now blue streak in hair)
Angie Loy, Director of Activities
Pulaski Health and Rehab Center
Pulaski, Virginia
There are some things just too good not to let the world know about. This is one of those things… the only thing missing will be photographs of all who were in attendance because of those rules of “privacy” and protection since they have not signed a release to have their beauty seen here! Instead, you have a photo of Aunt/Niece who happen to be Dot/Mom/Cob with swag and her niece, who happens to be filled with passion, purpose and a great love for her work with those living at Pulaski Health and Rehab.
Angie is the Activities Director at the facility for those there; similar to a nursing home situated in the New River Valley of Virginia. She is always coming up with new and creative ideas for her residents for socialization, for things that they can find joy with, or things to get them out of their rooms and into the community area to peak interest and to laugh, live, while enjoying. Oh boy do they love her as well, often wanting her to stay longer, to visit her in her office, or to find the bowl of goodies that sits on her desk while strolling through.
Angie has had a plan in the works of hosting a “prom” a “Senior Prom” for the residents in the works for months! I’ve watched her posts on Facebook with her requests for prom dresses, bow ties, cummerbunds, jackets for the gents as the time has gotten closer.  I have read the comments of others in the community who have rallied to her requests or have suggested she try here or there in her running for larger sizes, for different ideas, as she planned this grand event. From Bridesmaids dresses, to gently used prom dresses, the donations begin to arrive; the decorations being planned, the DJ secured for music. Pulaski Health and Rehab staff getting excited with the possibilities generated by the enthusiasm of Angie Loy, The Activities Director who could already visualize those residents having the time of their lives.
The volunteers were asked to get involved, the running began, the wine and cheeses planned, families informed, and the tension mounted as the 2014 Senior Prom was in the works in a facility for folks who maybe never even attended high school… or folks who had graduated so long ago, they might not have even remembered a prom if there had been such a thing!  
Just a creative thought had built momentum to the point that men, women, all were getting enthused about it, the idea of it.  I wondered on the music… what would play? Would it be Big Band sounds, country, bee pop of days gone by or the Rat Pack?
I visualized the folks there, some in wheel chairs being rolled into the main room dressed in what would be their finery for the event, glittery and shiny and the joys that might just evoke of “back then” or the many “firsts” and my smile was strong enough to make my face hurt!
I could only imagine it to be a fabulous event.
I listened to Angie’s enthusiasm, her passion when talking about the residents, her hope for the day, her nervousness in getting everything “just right”. I felt such pride of her commitment to those she provides care for and wished so many understood the role she plays in enhancing the quality of life for those there and in facilities similar for their residents.  I had to admit, “Senior Prom” had taken on a new meaning for me. 
The best of times were to be had, but oh my goodnesss what a lot of work. 
 Photographs begin to show up, of those she works with! Smiles and comments began to appear on her page of Facebook saying what an outstanding time was had, how remarkable it was!
The decorations festive, the music great, the residents looking quite beautiful and having a “ball” at the prom! Laughter, smiles and good vibes felt by all that were there, and pictures for families taken to be shared. Staff photos as well, seems everyone wanted a picture with ole’ Angie as they congratulated her on a job well done!  The guys with their shirts and ties, not missing a beat at the Prom.
 Seems that a great time was had by all, even those who couldn’t remember why they were there, or now can’t recall being there unless prompted. IN that moment, the moment was amazing, the energy shifted with the glitter, the music, the flow of people. It was an event that was unlike any other for those who live there. They were able to dress up, show up, and be a part of something that might have reminded them of a time gone by, a few hours of respite from day to day moments that go from one to the next in sweat pants, or leisure suits.
One woman who is tasked with multiple tasks as so many are in the work place. Meetings about this and that and doing more with less, trying to keep activities fresh while Bingo remains the number one activity around the country, stepped out of the box big time on this one.  Angie called in the community for some help, she involved them, got them excited.  So much so that the press showed up as well, and the Senior Prom was featured on the front page of the local paper!
The dancing happened, the gowns swished across the floor and the wheel chairs rolled with the music, the wine was poured. The Seniors had their prom, and it was better than good.
So for today; props to Pulaski Health and Rehab Center in Pulaski Virginia and my cuz, Angie Loy, the bombdiggidty Activities Director who “rocked it” with Senior Prom for all the folks that were able to enjoy the efforts put forth for them.
Given the staff/volunteers seemed so happy, we can only imagine the faces of those that were in attendance as they dressed up, ate, drank, and enjoyed each moment. 
 this story is the way things used to be… how they can be, should be, and thanks to Angie and volunteers how they ARE for those she is honored to provide care to.  We are truly at our best when in the service of others, sometimes going outside of the box in ideas to make things happen in wonderful ways.  
Involving the community in getting dresses, ties, jackets while letting them know what is happening in a facility peaks enthusiasm, interest, and involvement. It is for the greater good of all. It also lends others to want to do more,”how can we help, can we involve our kids, can we plan a picnic for your residents with music”?  The possibilities are endless and the only limitation is the imagination.
A “Senior” Prom… I bet they were all just beautiful. Bravo cuz, Angie Loy… I sure hope your administration recognizes the great treasure they have in you.
Just think, maybe the next activity will include all the residents doing a video led by Angie singing “Happy” with each holding a colored noodle waving it in the air while sitting outside in the sun, led by Angie! A new viral video perhaps, they could just go crazy with it… Just a thought here, as we move into the middle of the week and decide 
video by
 visualize …. and get that happy goin’ (prom dress optional), now let’s DANCE!
Let’s all congratulate Angie Loy for a job better than well done and all those who helped make it happen! 
Carry on

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