by Sasha Reddy
Community Fitness Fridays focuses on providing those with intellectual challenges a positive fitness and social experience. On most Friday evenings, you will see HAC personal trainer Eric Neil and several volunteers and participants in the personal training studio working out and having fun. There, they have a wonderful time sweating together as they share laughs.
This May, the group had their 2nd annual prom here at HAC with participants and volunteers pulling out all the stops. Participants dressed to the nines in their best gowns and suits for a fun, memorable evening of food, dancing, and socializing. This year’s event theme was Under the Sea.
“The goal of the Fitness Friday Prom is to provide a night where we can celebrate our community and their differences,” says Eric. “It’s a night of being accepted, loved, and celebrated. I think the biggest way the prom serves our CFF community is through how the night makes everyone feel. Volunteers, coworkers, and prom attendees get to dress up and feel beautiful and handsome together.”
The event and the program aim to bolster attendees’ self-confidence and social skills by providing a unique experience. As they arrived, participants stopped off by the front entrance for a quick photo shoot and received their prom sash and crown. Then, they moved to a red carpet lined with balloons and over two dozen cheering greeters to welcome them. “The red carpet celebration is a big part of the night,” Eric adds. “It was great to see our Delaware law enforcement branches from multiple jurisdictions and my Avon Grove high school boys lacrosse players bring in the energy on our red carpet celebration.”
In 2024, Eric hopes to grow the event even further, offering keepsakes for the attendees to take with them and limo drop-off services.
Eric has put many hours of planning into making this event such a success, but not without support. “I would like to thank Rosemarie Peoples for taking the role of food management for the prom. She is a big part of our CFF program and a positive influence in my life. Elite PT donated balloons for the prom, and their amazing therapists gave their time on the red carpet and in hair and makeup. Kathy Andrzejewski (La Divine Designs) graciously donated our centerpieces for the prom. They looked amazing and made our prom tables. DJ Carl always provides the atmosphere on the dance floor. Special thanks to our DJ Carl.”
Eric would also like to thank the HAC staff and management that played a role in this year’s event. “Your support is critical in putting on our CFF Prom. I can’t thank you enough for the decorations, desserts, and flyers/programs. Being a personal trainer at HAC, it means a lot to see my coworkers’ involvement in the prom. A special thanks to Rachel Evans for being a great buddy at the prom, Renee Paoli for helping with decorations, Denise Boyle for her support and donation, Jen Besten for her flower donation, and Dom and Rocco Tomlinson for helping with prom cleanup.”