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The Special Olympics prom will be July 29 at the Farmington Civic Center. Wochit

Community comes together to put together the dance for athletes

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FARMINGTON — Special Olympics athletes will attend prom this month thanks to donations from various business and community members.
The prom was organized by Jane Banes as part of her involvement with Farmington Dancing with the Stars. Banes chose Special Olympics as her charity for Dancing with the Stars.

More: Dance class offered for Special Olympics athletes

"Some of them went to public school, but they never went to a prom," Banes said as she helped athletes choose clothes Friday afternoon. 

The community has come together to make prom a special experience for the athletes. In addition to donating clothing, business have donated services like alterations. The prom will be July 29 at Farmington Civic Center. Banes said the athletes will walk through an archway on a red carpet and be announced as they enter the ballroom.

There will also be dinner provided for them.

Phillip Journey, 15, showed off a picture of him and his girlfriend, who will go with him to prom.

"It's very exciting," his mother, Renee Journey, said. "He loves to dance."

Renee Journey has volunteered her time to help make the prom a reality for her son and dozens of other athletes.

More: Polar Plunge raises money for Special Olympics

"You want to see some kids have a good time, go to a Special Olympics dance," she said.

While it is not uncommon for Special Olympics to include dances, this is the first time local athletes have had a formal dance like prom.

Mary Craig, the owner of Mary's Alterations, donated her time to make sure the clothes fit well.

"If you saw the smiles on those kids' faces, you can't put a price on it," she said.

Craig has a child with a disability and was excited to be able to help. After the prom, the clothes will be donated to the Cinderella Project, which Craig also spearheads. The project provides high school students that can't afford dresses a chance to go to prom.

Craig said she struggled to get enough money to purchase a used prom dress for her daughter, which prompted her to collect donations through the Cinderella Project.

"The community has been absolutely amazing," she said.

People who want to donate dresses for the Cinderella Project and the Special Olympics prom can take them to 2216 W. Aztec Boulevard or call Craig at 505-334-7490.

The prom coincides with area games that are currently going on. The Four Corners Invitational will be next month and will bring around 1,600 athletes to Farmington.
Special Olympics New Mexico is also asking for donations as it faces a loss of $310,000 in state funding this year, according to Debra Lisenbee, the area director.

More: New group promotes volunteer work as fundraising mechanism

The organization began its OneUp campaign Saturday. The campaign challenges people to donate at least $1 and ask their friends to donate as well. Donations can be made at CanYouOneUp.com. The campaign will continue through Aug. 19.

In addition to asking for money, Special Olympics needs volunteers to help with the games next month. People interested in volunteering can call Lisbenbee at 505-860-4693 or email dlisenbee@gobrainstorm.net.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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