CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Prom is rite of passage for many high schoolers, but it’s an experience that seniors at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools won’t get to have due to the pandemic.
Faith-based nonprofit, Young Life Charlotte Urban is no working to give their senior members at predominately underserved schools their own prom night to remember.
It’s safe to say Joshua Purdie, a Senior at Harding University High School has been looking forward to prom for years.
He said, “You always think about your prom and how crazy it’s going to get.”
Purdie was allowed to go to prom as a Junior, but CMS canceled prom in 2020 because of the pandemic and now it’s happened again during his last year of high school.
“I was devastated,” Purdie recalled.
That disappointment is the same for most teens unable to attend their proms for two years in a row, but that’s where Young Life Charlotte Urban is stepping in.
The group is hosting the Meck Gala at Victoria Yards in Uptown Friday, May 21st from 7pm – 9pm.
Adam Riley, a Staff Associate at Young Life, said when their members told them prom at CMS was canceled, he and the other leads knew they had to do something.
“Let’s try to give them back what they didn’t have the last two years and try to make something normal out of this pandemic; this chaotic time that we’re living in the last 14 months,” Riley said.
The nonprofit works with teens in the city’s most underserved schools including Garinger, Harding, North Meck, Vance, West Charlotte, and West Meck.
The staff members serve as tutors, mentors, help with transportation and are there to guide members in their faith and in life.
Riley said, “The schools that we reach out to, just remind us so much of how we came up and we want to be to them what we didn’t have growing up.”
It’s why Riley said this Meck Gala is more important than ever.
He said, “Just seeing the joy on our kid’s faces. Just seeing them out on the dance floor, mingling and intermingling, and interacting with other people; people they’ve never seen before, people that maybe don’t look like them, and just a beautiful picture of heaven in a way in a prom like this.”
Purdie has his plans all set and is ready for a fun-filled night with his friends.
He said, “We’ve all been talking, seeing who is going to have the best suit, so we’ve been talking our trash and we’re ready to see who’s really going to put on.”
He’s also looking forward to the perfect night to say “goodbye” to this chapter of his life and is grateful for the Young Life staff.
“It’s very heartwarming just to know that they care enough to go out of their way to combine all of us and give us a good night that we wanted and it is very exciting,” Purdie said.
Teens don’t have to be a Young Life members to join in the Meck Gala, just register ahead of time.
You can register and see event details here.
Young Life Charlotte Urban is also welcoming any event volunteers or donated services like tux rentals, dress rental, food, transportation, or flowers for corsages and boutonnieres.
Visit younglife.org to get in touch with the group.