By Madeline Gardner
Impact, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting and providing information on healthy relationships and lifestyles to students and parents within the community, plans to hold its ‘Ugly Prom’ on Friday, July 8 at Kings Avenue Baptist Church. The event offers teens from Hillsborough and Polk counties access to a host of fun games and dancing from 7-9 p.m. First established in 2006 on a federal grant, Impact’s summer staff program has since incorporated activities such as Ugly Prom as part of its ‘Fun Friday’ initiative.
“The returners of summer staff definitely look forwards to and expect it. The new members are exposed to it then, and it becomes a tradition for them as well. If we weren’t to have it, they’d be seriously disappointed,” said Angie Kagey, executive director of Impact.
Encouraging teens to shop around at their local Goodwill or Salvation Army, the event is centered around the attendees piecing together the ugliest prom outfit they can imagine. After purchasing a $5 ticket, students will gain access to food and a series of featured activities, such as crowning a king and queen for the event who will pass down their crowns the following year. Promoting group dancing, selection will range from the Electric Slide to the “Y.M.C.A.” to various limbo challenges.
“It’s a lot of fun. So, we do a lot of pictures and get them dancing, and the students go all out too,” said Kagey. “It’s a good, clean atmosphere.”
Among its other initiatives and projects, such as huddles held on the last Monday of every month, Ugly Prom is specially designed to discourage giving into peer pressure. The purpose of hosting these events allows for students to recognize that fun can be had without taking risks that can eventually create problems for youth. Impact works to foster a close and collective community where students can enjoy engaging in activities and collaborations that are both safe and beneficial.
“There’s fun out there that doesn’t involve high-risk behavior. It’s possible to have a good time,” said Kagey. “It’s really to provide good, positive peer support and be around students who are like-minded, to gain the atmosphere of being around students who are going to support you in making healthy lifestyle decisions.”
For more information on Ugly Prom and Impact, please call 264-9368 or visit www.whatisimpact.com.