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Home » Events, Newsworthy

Spring Formal Ball a Huge Success

Submitted by on Saturday, 26 May 2012One Comment
 In the absence of the annual Gayla Prom, Youth First Texas hosted its Spring Formal Ball last night on May 25th, 2012.  An outpouring of community support helped ensure that the event was free to all LGBTQ and allied youth ages 14 to 22.  Nearly thirty youth – many who were dressed to seriously impress – were already waiting in line when doors opened at 7:00pm.  Those arriving entered the YFT Dallas center that had been completely decorated for the “Fire and Ice” theme and sat down to a wonderful dinner provided by chefs from the Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Dallas.  DJ Matt Purvis kicked off the dance shortly thereafter and kept the music playing all the way until the midnight hour.  The formal King and Queen of the Ball were elected and crowned at 10:00pm to resounding applause throughout the center.  Over one hundred people including seventy-seven youth, some coming from as far away as Denton and Tyler, attended the formal ball with almost every youth staying until the music stopped and the lights turned on.

The King and Queen of the 2012 Spring Formal

“I was excited that we were able to host this event on such short notice,” said Chris Cognetta, YFT’s Chair of the Board, “this would have never been possible without the resounding community support we have received in the past month.”

Youth First Texas would like to thank all whose support make this magical night possible for LGBTQ youth who may not have been as welcome at other formal “rite of passage” dances held this time of year – namely their high school proms.  Without the overwhelming donations from residents of the greater Dallas area and the National Adam Lambert Fan Club we could not have hosted this event free for every youth in attendance.  Much thanks to the chefs from the Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Dallas for an outstanding dinner.  The energy levels stayed high all the way through midnight thanks to DJ Matt Purvis.  Attendees were able to have formal photographs taken thanks to Nicholas and Kimberley Scattergood.  Last, but definitely not least, the event could never have happened without the efforts of over a dozen volunteers coordinated by Roger Ryan.

“I was honestly concerned with the short amount of time and budget we had to work with,” said Amie McNamara, YFT’s Youth Programs Coordinator, “but the work of everybody involved was magical and created a magical night for LGBTQ youth.  I was also really impressed with the decorum and perfect behavior of the youth in attendance.”

Controversy erupted last year when the Gayla Prom restricted ages to 14 to 18 from the historical 14 to 22.  YFT chose to continue with its own tradition and revive the 14 to 22 age range for the Spring Formal Ball.  The results were a nearly 50% increase in youth attendance compared to last year’s Gayla Prom.  “In consideration of the concerns held by the coordinators of Gayla Prom last year we chose to increase security for this event and we are very pleased to report that we did not have a single incident or issue for the Spring Formal Ball,” said Jeremy Liebbe, YFT’s Chair of Social Services who also serves as a police operations commander for many of the large special events in the Oak Lawn area.  “I would like to thank LGBT Liaison Officer Laura Martin for providing a uniformed presence that both increased security and reminded the youth that there are police officers they can turn to for help or just hang out with when taking a break from dancing.”

The attendance at this event continues to show the need for services and opportunities directed to LGBTQ youth and their allied friends.  Youth First Texas has seen a 28% increase in program attendance this year as compared to the same time period last year, with forty-nine new youth coming through the doors for their first time in recent months.  We look forward to continue offering a safe space for LGBTQ youth and their allied friends to strengthen opportunities for life skills, leadership development, peer support, and educational advancement.

One Comment »

  • Patrick Murphy said:

    What a wonderful evening for all the young people. I was glad to have “kept my eye” on the back door for the event. Due to a recent back injury, sitting down most of the evening was perfect for an old fart like me.

    I look forward to helping more in the future.

    Patrick Murphy