Girl Scout creates prom for special needs kids

Apr. 23, 2014 @ 11:09 PM

For three years Jordan Jeffers has worked toward putting together a prom for children with special needs in Sevier County middle and high schools. On Saturday night, she is set to complete her goal.

Jeffers, a 16-year-old junior at Sevier County High School, chose this project in pursuit of a Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor one can receive from the Girl Scouts. The award challenges scouts to solve a community problem.

The event, One Special Night, will take place at First United Methodist Church in Sevierville. All of the girls will meet to get makeovers — complete with hair, nails and make-up — at 5 p.m., and the prom will begin later that evening.

“The way I feel special about myself is to get all dolled up and have an awesome time dancing,” she said. “I wanted to do that for those students. They can go to prom, but they don’t feel special there, they feel left out.”

Jeffers has collected dresses for girls and formal attire for boys, delivered to the students through the schools. She has also found a DJ who agreed to donate time to work the event, as well as food donations. The work of her mother, Jennifer Jeffers, a special education teacher, inspired the the project.

“When I help other people, it gives me this feeling of pride in myself; it makes me happy to see them happy,” Jordan said.

“I want to walk into the cafeteria at school at see multiple people sitting with special ed. students, not just them sitting in the middle all by themselves.”

“She wants them to have that time to shine,” Jennifer Jeffers said.

As she worked on the project, there was, Jordan said, a moment when she was afraid it might not be possible to see her vision through.

“It was probably about three months ago, and I was like, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to pull it all together,” Jordan said. “I don’t know if the community is willing to help. Everything costs money, and that’s not something I personally have, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to get enough donations. I just said, ‘Jordan, focus. You’re not doing this for yourself. It’s for the students.’ And I kept going.”

Preparations for the event are nearly complete, with only a few hurdles remaining before Saturday.

“We do still have to get all the decorations done — I’ll need a lot of help from my friends,” Jordan said. “We’re also still looking for a cake business to provide a cake for us.”

Something that may not be necessary for the event, but that is desired, is the ability to record video of the prom and make copies for everyone who attends. An amateur photographer is donating her services to the event, and the hope is that prints of those photos can be given to everyone as well.

Jordan’s commitment to community service stretches beyond this project. Two years ago she performed 600 hours of community service. 

“I can’t brag enough,” Jennifer Jeffers said. “She really is amazing. She has gone out of her way, asking all these different businesses herself, coming in and saying, ‘I want you to sponsor this,’ and people are supporting her.”

jold@themountainpress.com