Grace Gala gives residents with special needs ‘a night to shine’

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Friday night marked the sixth year for one of Mount Pleasant Church’s most anticipated events. The Grace Gala is a prom night for children and adults with special needs.

The goal is to highlight the talents of the participants who are often overlooked.

First-time entrant Austin Matherly arrived in style. He says his goals are simple; sing karaoke and meet new people.

“I will sing We Will Rock You,” he added.

Attendees were assigned a “buddy,” or volunteer to help navigate them through all the services offered, which included karaoke, dancing, food, and having their picture taken.

Participants are sponsored, so the event is free for them.

Before hitting the dance floor, the arriving members were able to walk down a red carpet showing off their outfits. They received an escort, which included officers from THPD, Indiana State Police, and the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office.

The host was Julie Henricks from WTWO.

“It’s a community effort, it’s really cool to see volunteers at all levels doing what they do. But, just to see our guests smiling and being happy is the real payoff,” said event organizer Jess Berryhill.

The Grace Gala is a two-day event, and the church needs volunteers. Anyone wishing to help is asked to come to Mount Pleasant Church located at 3050 E Davis Dr.

The second day is April 9, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“I would tell them it would be one of the best nights and they mean a lot to a lot of people,” said attendee Noel Harden when asked about the dance.

Matherly adds that if this dance or this life has taught her anything, it’s to be yourself.

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