On April 25, the Skyland Nursing home in Sylva hosted a prom for their residents.
Dr. Rebecca Lasher of Western Carolina University’s Social Work Department and her class put on the prom as part of a service learning project. According to Lasher, since the course focuses on work in the community, part of the course is to develop a service learning project.
“Every class chooses something different based on what their needs are, what they think the community needs,” Lasher said. “Every group has their unique project that they do. This is the first time our group has chosen the nursing home.”
According to Lasher, the class decided to put on the prom at the nursing home because it is spring and how, sometimes, the elderly are forgotten in regards to volunteer work.
“We think about little kids or puppies,” Lasher said.
Lasher’s class planned the event by imitating what happens at social work agencies. The class was divided into committees that fit the needs of the event. Some of the committees consisted of a logistics committee, which was in charge of decorating and food, and another committee that was in charge of communicating with the nursing home and working out all the details.
According to Lasher, the event was a spectacular turnout.
“It brought tears to my eyes because the people that worked at the nursing home got so excited about working with us, that they dressed up all of the residents in fancy, like promy type dresses, or you know, something that you might wear to a wedding,” said Lasher. “Some of the women even had little tiaras on, and the men had bow-ties, and they were all fixed up, and a lot of their family members even came to be with them. We played music from their era. It was wonderful. It was just precious.”
“The ‘Senior’ Prom Project was a lot of fun and an interesting experience overall,” said Matthew Patterson, a student in Lasher’s class. “At the beginning of the semester, our class voted on several potential projects and eventually settled on this one. The project took a lot of planning, but each of us did our part to make this project a reality. I feel that the project really brought the class together, and I am proud to consider my classmates as friends.
“The Skyland residents were very excited to see us and willing to talk with all of us,” continued Patterson. “I had the opportunity to speak to a resident’s relative. He stated that he was really grateful for what our class was doing for his mother and the other residents and that he often goes to the university football games.
“Our community project provided special entertainment for the Skyland residents and provided the university with positive publicity,” Patterson added. “Another resident was ecstatic that they were granted an opportunity to talk football with David Patten. I spent most of my time at the event posing for photos with many of the residents. We had a lot of help from photography students and my friend Andrew Sexton (“Watson Break”), who agreed to dj the event. We also received donations from Ingles and Ryan’s.”