Formal was special event


Last week, I had an unusual opportunity to witness an event not seen by very many people of Sweet Home.

The event was a winter formal arranged by the South Albany Basic Life Skills staff. BLS staff and students from Sweet Home, Lebanon and Scio also participated in the event with South Albany.

The Basic Life Skills curriculum is offered to those students of high school age who possess very basic disabilities. I am not privy to categorize what the disabilities might be other than to say they are quite obvious even to the untrained.

This winter formal was held at the First Methodist Church in Albany. It was very apparent the staff had put in many hours with decorations and creating a format that would be exciting and entertaining for all who participated.

Decorations were similar to what one would expect at a SAFE Party or winter formal held here in Sweet Home.

The theme was “Welcome to Our Jungle,” with all of the decorations reflecting a jungle atmosphere.

The dance lasted about two hours with nonstop rock ’n’ roll provided by an experienced disc jockey. The kids had photo opportunities under a waterfall and were served a light snack afterward.

This was not just an ordinary dance enjoyed by high school-aged kids. This was a special dance. This would be the only dance available for these kids to participate in this year.

I want to focus on what was obviously the most exciting aspect of this dance. I’m talking about the interaction with the kids by the Basic Life Skills staff members. The BLS staff danced tirelessly. They danced with kids who had trouble standing. They danced with kids who could not hear the pounding music. They danced with kids in wheelchairs. They danced with kids who could dance, and they danced with kids who could not dance – for nearly two hours.

I have witnessed a lot of love and compassion in my lifetime. I have never seen anything coming close to the amount of love, compassion and total commitment I witnessed by the BLS staff members toward these kids. I say hats off to the BLS staff. You have earned it and much more.

George Virtue (the elder)

Sweet Home