Prom to Remember at Emerson

by Marlo Jappen / Corresspondent • January 31, 2013

Pamela Mora was inspired to bring A Prom to Remember to Emerson after attending an event held by the organization in high school.
courtesy of Pamela Mora
Pamela Mora was inspired to bring A Prom to Remember to Emerson after attending an event held by the organization in high school.
courtesy of Pamela Mora

After seeing how many cancer patients were touched by the Prom to Remember event she attended in high school, Pamela Mora said she is determined to bring A Prom to Remember to Emerson next year. 

A Prom to Remember is a national organization that puts on an all-expense-paid prom for teens with cancer. Mora, a freshman writing for film and television major, said her experience volunteering with this organization at her high school in Florida inspired her to bring it to the Emerson community. She said organizing the event when she was in high school was one of the most rewarding experiences she’s ever had.

“I thought it would be really sad seeing kids with cancer at prom, but it was a night that they could forget they were even sick and they just felt like normal teenagers,” Mora said.

Mora said she wanted to spread joy to more children affected by cancer by giving them an experience they normally wouldn’t have.

“I met one of the boys who went to the prom and we became friends on Facebook,” Mora said. “His status was ‘Yippee! Can’t wait to put on my dancing shoes.’ He really looked forward to prom and was excited. It was one of the things that stuck out to me.”

She said she feels personally connected to this cause because she had a friend who died of brain cancer. One of the last parties she attended was her Sweet Sixteen. Mora saw how much it meant to her friend and was glad to find a group that gave other kids the same opportunity.

Mora said she was intimidated at first by the thought of bringing this organization to Emerson because she feared a poor turnout and didn’t want to let her members down if the prom couldn’t happen.

According to Mora, the club has 15 active members. They are working to raise money and get permission from hospitals so that they can invite patients to the prom. When it comes time for prom, they will be volunteering and making sure that the children are having fun.

“I like what the organization stands for, and my mom always did a lot with cancer organizations, so when I got this opportunity I was happy to help a good cause,” said Tyler Hendrickson, a freshman film production major and head of communications for the club.

The cost of the prom is a major problem for the group. They must obtain $100,000 worth of goods and services for it to become a reality. For this reason, as well as being pressed for time, the prom could not take place this year, but the event is planned for April 2014.

According to A Prom to Remember’s website, the organization provides wardrobes, limousines, a red carpet entrance, and a night of music and dancing.

So far they have raised $400 from donations and a fundraising project that delivered cookies to students from 12:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. during finals week. 

“It is possible for A Prom to Remember to take place without there being a branch in Boston,” said Travis Burton, vice president of business development and vice chair of board of directors. “Currently there is a branch in Ft. Lauderdale and Cleveland. We want to expand and reach as many teens with cancer as we can.”

He said a playbook which outlines everything that needs to happen is given to someone who is committed to building a chapter of the organization.

According to Mora, she has gained permission from the national headquarters and is in close contact with them.

Mora said the group gained sponsorship from companies such as Walgreens, Payless, Jos. A. Bank, and the Ritz Carlton, who agreed to host the prom.This takes off a significant amount of the cost, said Mora.

According to Mora, it is especially difficult for the group to reach the amount they need because they are not funded by Emerson. Since they are not SGA approved, there are restrictions on where and how they can advertise.

However, the club’s marketing de partment has found creative ways to make sure A Prom to Remember is represented on campus without breaking the rules. 

The presidents of this department, Elisa Kalan and Austin Mohn, both freshman marketing communication majors, said that they blew up balloons with information about the cookie sale and taped them to doors in different dorm buildings because they weren’t allowed to slip flyers under doors or scatter them on the floor. 

Also, candy canes with information about the organization were given out during the holiday season.

Mora said that it is common for the SGA to recognize clubs that have been very active on campus for an entire year. A Prom to Remember hopes that by next year, it will receive funding.

As for the future, the group hopes to continue fundraising and possibly get money from events that the national headquarters has in the area so that they can reach their goal.