Purple Cat clients look forward to ‘super’ prom

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Stephanie Bloom, left, an instructor with Purple Cat, helps Darlene Anderson with prom favors that have a “Superheroes” theme as clients work on them at Farmer Casey’s Farm in Lowellville. On Saturday, the youth ministry of Christ Our Savior Parish in Struthers will sponsor a prom for Purple Cat clients.

Clients look forward to ‘super’ prom




For Purple Cat promgoers and their families, the prom promises to be “super” in many ways, especially since the theme is “Superheroes.”

The social activity is planned for 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the social hall at St. Nicholas Church of Christ Our Savior Parish.

The youth ministry of the church is sponsoring the event; Purple Cat clients are making centerpieces.

Jean Ciccone, youth minister at the parish, said the prom is a first-time effort for the youth ministry. But it is not the first time the young people have interacted with Purple Cat clients, who have special needs because of mental and physical challenges.

Last year, the youth ministry went Christmas caroling and stopped at a Purple Cat residence, which is near the church.

Ciccone said conversation led to what clients like to do, and that’s dance. That led to the youth ministry hosting a regular dance for clients.

As another project, Ciccone said ministry members decided to offer to sponsor the prom. There have been contributions from the community and participating churches.

Youth ministries from St. Charles Borromeo and St. Luke churches in Boardman, Holy Family Church in Poland, St. Paul the Apostle Church in New Middletown, St. Joseph Church of Christ, the Good Shepherd Parish in Campbell and St. Patrick Church in Youngstown are contributing in different ways.

“They’ll help set up the prom and be at the event,” Ciccone said.

Since Purple Cat clients “gotta dance,” members of the youth ministries plan to teach them the “National Catholic Dance” to the Backstreet Boys’ “Larger Than Life.” Ciccone said the line dance should prove to be fun.

In turn, Purple Cat clients will teach youth-ministry members the “Cupid Shuffle,” one of their favorites, Ciccone said.

Purple Cat is the day-program under the umbrella of Iron and String Life Enhancement, the parent organization, said Jessica Beasley, assistant director of Purple Cat and coordinator for the prom.

Purple Cat, founded in 2003, provides vocational opportunities, creative projects and classes to develop daily living skills.

Beasley said Golden String is the nonprofit organization within Iron and String that provides recreational activities for adults and children with special needs in the Valley. “It’s the fundraising part.” Beasley said.

Ciccone said the youth-ministry project is an avenue for “young people to live their faith.” She also noted that the project gives youths a chance to socialize with people they probably wouldn’t have contact with in their daily lives.

She said the youths will make a balloon archway and favor packets. Holy Name Society members at the parish will provide a pasta dinner.

Beasley said Purple Cat clients are making centerpieces and backdrops for photos.

This is the 11th prom, she said, and each has had a theme. Those attending the program may come dressed as a favorite superhero, in formal wear or as themselves. Beasley said about 150 clients from 18 into their 60s will be there. Families of clients also will attend as will Purple Cat staff.

“They’re really excited about it,” Beasley said, noting she’s considering following the theme by wearing a cape over her dress.

Tickets will be available at the door.

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