Last year, former youth and current volunteer at Covenant House Alaska, Pascaline, brought the idea of Covey Prom to the table. She asked, “if all other kids get to go to prom, shouldn’t our kids get to go too?” We took her thoughts and ideas to heart. She Shared with is her passion and why she feels it’s so important for youth to have a prom experience.
Prom is part of a normal, healthy teenager’s life. Teens who have stable home lives spend the day leading up to prom night making themselves glamorous. Their parents show interest in them. They take them to get fitted for a beautiful dress or the perfect tux. They help them get their makeup, hair & nails done. They will give them a ride if they need one. They are sure to get copies of the professional prom photos to frame and put up around the house. But Covey youth have had hard lives, some don’t even have parents, or their parents don’t want anything to do with them.
Kids end up at Covey because of traumatic experiences, looking for a safe place to sleep or food to eat. For them, the staff at Covey become family. It’s the staff that they see every day. The staff are who talks them through their problems and helps them make appointments or register for classes. The staff try to give them the same chance at happiness and success as other people their age. They also make close friends with other kids at Covey because they have stuff in common. This helps them heal from trauma faster.
Last year was our first prom ever. The dance floor was busy all night, the photo booth was very popular— even staff were getting their pictures taken! Everyone who came looked comfortable, you know, they were happy to be around the people they knew and trusted. I know for a fact they will remember their time and feel like they didn’t miss out on something fun and cool that all other kids are doing. Prom at Covey should be just as fabulous and special as any other prom, a kind of red carpet feeling. With snacks, a backdrop for photos, flashing lights, a dance floor, and loud music. Covenant House tries to bring as many things as possible to the Youth Engagement Center. So, If a kid is in crisis, they will be more likely to get the help they need. Going to a regular high school can be super scary to kids who are experiencing homelessness because they just aren’t like the other kids at school—they don’t have a room to call their own or reliable parents or clean nice clothes. It can be so intimidating to the point they just won’t go. But at Covenant House, they can go to class with other kids like them without ever having to leave the building. They are able to stay on track getting their High School credits, but they miss out on the fun social events that normal high schools offer. If we bring class to them, why not bring prom to them too?