Written by Jeremy "J-Jack" Jackson
In Saginaw, Michigan, as well as other cities and States, violence, poverty, and up to Sports usually creates the headlines, that keeps us humans watching and reading. Even as stats are often times, shaped and formulated. Panic is of course a money maker. It's just something about bad news, that just sparks an interest. So many times when People do positive things, it may go and come quietly and at times, even go unnoticed. Yet, it's so many of Us Humans that are not as concerned with getting all the accolades and recognition. It's just not why they do what they do. They just come after chasing a vision, calling or passion, so to say. And often times, it may never come but they will continue onward. And we had the chance to speak to one individual, Ms. Crissy Parker, who along with her whole team, have been nominated for 24 Awards and recognitions to date. They currently hold 13 out of 24 award titles. They have received many awards in the past few months alone. From, NAACP "Community Impact Award", Community Organization, Event and party planning Platinum Award, Organization Services Platinum Award, Ruby Award Nomination and the People's Choice Award as well as took 2nd place in the Saginaw Soup Pitch. "These awards were given to me but it is because of my whole team that we all deserve the recognition!! So kudos to our Squad Prom2k!!" Quite Impressive!! So, we went back in time just a tad, as we begin this feature, to see where it started. In 2017, when Crystal "Crissy" Parker embarked on her trail, she didnt know where it would lead to. "I was overwhelmed with love and support, but overall, I was proud!! I did something that no one else wanted to do for our Special Needs Families ❤️" And with that first event in her rearview, it created a desire and passion to create more than the passion she began with, while she maintained and as the Prom2k Team continues to help many in the process.
Now, towards the end of the year, a free Community Christmas Event will be held at the Kochville Hall, and you can reach out to "Crissy" at the number above. "Our Annual Christmas Event is December 16th from 3pm until 9pm with Free Dinner starting at 5pm. It's Yearly, and we cater to the Special Needs familes with Christmas festivities, as well as a Free Christmas meal for families to enjoy a Social Event 🔐 If you can make it, Im sure many will get to see the smiles and joy and have a great understanding of what this season is truly about.
Of course, many know about the "Prom in the City" event, so we asked a few more questions, to hopefully help and shed a light for our readers to know more about this Community Event. "Prom in the City" is simply a community organization, which means we do not have a 501c3 Nonprofit status. All of the work we do is self funded by hosting fundraisers, Campaigns and then seeking sponsors. So we have to do alot of footwork to achieve our Annual Budget to host the event where there is no cost to these families and to God be the Glory, he's never failed me yet. We are at the end of our 2023 Season and into our 2024 Campaign..... We host our Annual Easter events for the families with a 2 day pop-up and Easter basket fundraiser, ending with Free Easter Egg hunt for the community. As well as Our Say yes to the dress event that allows our Special Needs ladies to pick out a Dress from our Sponsors Becca's Closet (Alexia Houpis and Shannon Rodriguez has been with me since day 1), as well as Say yes to the Dress event with Take 2 Bridal Consignment (Cindy and Nicole). Our boys our Sponsored by Thread128 (Mr Greg Hayes) where they can go get a suit, shirt, tie and a free hair cut. All services are always free. We are the ONLY all expense paid event ever hosted in Saginaw. Those events will lead us into our Annual formal event Saturday May 4, 2024."
As we digged deeper, I decided to see what did she envision for the event. Is it something that the community should look forward to every year? "Our long term Goal For 'Prom in the City', is to be a global event, but we're still on the short term goal and that's simply providing an all expense paid formal event for ALL age, special Needs individuals from all over the world. "Prom in the City" is Saginaw based, but we have participants that come from multiple different states to attend our event. That makes me very proud!" When asked about her start, from the thought process to the actual event happening, that I wanted to know, what did she see or feel, as to know, that this was something that was missing in her community, and she let me know that "When I 1st started Prom in the city in 2016 there really wasn't anything offered in the special needs community, so I filled a lot of shoes. My goal for 2024 is to cut ties with all the extra social events because there is now 3 other organizations that cater to our special needs families. So now I can truly focus on the Vision I had since I started. "The formal event" which is 1 night ❤️ I also wanted to know when you started “Prom in the City”, did you feel it was a need and did you see anyone or entity helping create these events for the community or did you see other entities doing it and feel it was still a need in helping the community in your own way? "Yes, I felt there was a need because my niece who was 25 years old at the time was watching TV with me and it was around prom time, so the commercials were running and there was a prom party City commercial and she looked at me and said I wanna go there😳. I said u wanna go to prom, she said YES with the deepest voice. It was then that I realized that our special needs family don't get the chance to experience what the normal high school kids experience. They go to school then transition until they are 26, so that part of the social for them gets left out. So, after deep thought and the more it kept bothering me knowing this was a big dream for her, I had to dig deep and do my own research before I even thought to present this to the community. In that, I found that all social events for the special needs of such were cut out of the budget 20 years before I started (Per the Director of program). It was then that I knew I had to turn that Dream into a vision and make it a reality for all Families with Special Needs and not just for her but for everyone like her! My niece was my inspiration!! "Quavonda "Baby" Ezell who is now 32 years old..... So there was a desperate need and we had big shoes to fill. I've always felt that I was making a huge impact by making a difference in peoples lives where it matters most. They want to be treated just like everyone else all across the board with no stipulations. I know what I'm doing is making a huge impact in the community."
As we neared the end of our informative feature, we wanted to know how can our readers stay in contact and "We are currently working on our Website, but for now you can find us on Facebook at Prom in the city for updates and upcoming events, plans and schedules" Click on the video below to go right to their facebook page.
As we wrap up this feature, we wanna Thank Crystal Parker for her continued efforts, as well as anyone that has and is helping with and attending. The Community is so much more, then just what is sensationalized.