For many parents of children with special needs, a night out is rare.
As guests met the top of grand spiral staircase, they were greeted with a walk down a red carpet, flash from the photographer, and a warm hello from the staff of South Coastal Family Support Center, a program of Advocates.
The red carpet was a new addition to the event this year. As families arrived, they were treated like celebrities on their way to an award show. Guests, all of whom are individuals with disabilities or family members served by South Coastal Family Support Center, strutted their stuff down the red carpet and flashed poses for the professional photographer on-hand to capture the fun.
This was South Coastal’s third annual Black & White Affair, held at Lombardo’s in Randolph, MA on Saturday, January 9, 2016. Over 200 families attended the event – moms, dads, children, siblings, grandparents, caregivers, and friends alike.
For the Dumont Family, parents John and Donna look forward to getting dressed up and seeing other parents, while their son Ryan – a social butterfly – looks forward to dancing. “It is important to be out with people and it is nice to see other parents,” shared John and Donna Dumont, as it is something they only get to do a few times per year.
Lori O’Leary and her daughter, Casey, have a hard time finding outings that they can go to together, which is why they look forward to this event each and every year. “You don’t know what it does for a family like mine,” shared Lori, “without this, I’d have nothing to do.”
Alicia Cannon, Director of South Coastal, and her entire staff were on hand at the event. From greeting guests as they came down the red carpet, hopping in the photo booth with families, and busting moves on the dancefloor, the staff were present and helpful all evening long. “The annual gala has come to represent something extra special for me,” shared Alicia. “Most importantly, it’s a time to celebrate all of you. You and your families, because you define, and best exemplify what the [South Coastal] Family Support Center is truly all about... family support.”
The Dumont Family knows the importance of celebrating families, sharing that “everyone has something special about them.” For Donna, she “can’t say enough about [South Coastal],” and John expressed that he “really love[s] that it is family oriented.”
Just ask Lori O’Leary, who will tell you that the staff at South Coastal are the “hardest working people with a smile on their face.” Even after the event was over, the lasting effects and memories from the Black & White Affair continued on. Lori describes her daughter as someone who loves dancing. At the event Casey never left the dance floor – not until the DJ stopped playing. And for days after the event, Casey continued to sign to her mom “more” and “dancing.