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Amelia Islander

Best Buddies “Evening at Sunset” Prom at Residence Inn Amelia Island

Since 1993, Best Buddies high schools have paired students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in one-on-one friendships with high school students. These participants are crossing the invisible line that too often separates those with disabilities from those without. On April 27, the Residence Inn Amelia Island hosted a very special “Evening at Sunset Prom” on their Tides Terrace for members of Yulee and Fernandina Beach High Schools’ Best Buddies, and the event was a success.

“Because of the generosity of our General Manager, Bob Hartman, we were able to provide a real prom for these special students,” said Dottie Richards, Director of Sales and Marketing at Residence Inn. “The 70 students from both Yulee and Fernandina Beach melted together as a bunch of happy high school students.”

The hotel provided a buffet, popcorn machine, beverages, and cake, along with decorations, and draped tables; centerpieces were provided by Nicole Archard. DJ Eric Harris provided the music, and a photo booth was provided by Photo Fun Booth. Lori Venerdi from Fernandina Beach High School and Karen Cusick from Yulee High School were the Best Buddies Coordinators. This is the first year that a formal prom has been organized for students with disabilities and their peers from both schools.