On Friday, people showed off their party skirts, saddle shoes and leather jackets for Winchester’s Rockin’ Sock Hop for the disabled
Music is something that brings people together, and on Friday night at the Winchester Youth Development Center more than 100 disabled teens and adults and their carers danced the night away.
“They like to dance like everyone else,” says Regina O’Brien of the Youth Development Centre.
The 50s-themed party feels like a prom. The YDC has partnered with Winchester’s NW Works and the Arc of Northern Shenandoah Valley to provide attendees with an evening they won’t forget. Students from area high schools and colleges volunteered to help make the night extra special by being escorts or joining them on the dance floor to shake, jingle and roll.
“For students, it’s a great way to give back, to count their blessings, to volunteer, to serve the community, and it all works out fantastically,” says O’Brein.
Organizers and volunteers agree that events like these help people with and without disabilities come out of their shells.
“As a future special education teacher, I know how important it is for her community, for people with disabilities and those without, how everyone can benefit from a relationship,” says Amanda Kicker of Shenandoah University.
Amanda Kicker, a senior at Shenandoah University, says it’s the perfect way to end her Friday night after a long day of work and study.
“Just seeing their smiles and singing to each other takes everything away.” says Kicker.
The event, now in its fourth year, has a simple goal: to bring people together to focus on the dance, not the differences.
“Just one night, just having fun and not looking at anyone for anything other than who they are,” says Darrell Denell.
Darell Denell and his son DJ enjoy spending time in a cheerful and welcoming environment, especially one that plays the DJ’s favorite music.
“So he comes out and nobody picks him off or anything like that, and like he said, his favorite singer is Micheal Jackson, and wow just wait you put the music on,” Denell says.
The event was free for everyone who attended, the only requirement was that you keep dancing.