‘It takes a village’ is an overused cliché, but in the case of DHS’s Prom After Party, it’s the secret to its long-running success over 11 years and why it’s a model to other communities. While our local survey data shows most of our students make healthy choices, Prom is a high-risk night across the nation for teen drinking and traffic fatalities.
CTAD sat down with Co-chairs Kristin Fine and Julie Samson to learn more about this much-anticipated annual event keeping our teens safe and offered at no cost to DHS seniors and their dates.
Q: What is the Prom After Party?
A: The Prom After Party is a substance-free, after prom celebration from midnight until 3 a.m for DHS seniors and their prom dates. It’s also open to any DHS senior who is not attending prom. Thanks to the generosity of the Deerfield Park District, the entire Sachs Recreation Center is transformed into the ultimate post-prom party. There is something for every student and includes many activities — from giant inflatables, casino games, fortune tellers and a basketball tournament to food galore and a giant prize wheel. Every student leaves with a prize.
Q: How did it come to be?
A: Concerned parents came together 11 years ago, following the tragic post-Homecoming car crash in Deerfield, to undertake the monumental task of creating a safe and fun alternative to unsupervised after prom activities, including driving to rented cabins or lake houses after midnight. This group of determined parents set out to change the culture in 2008 – which was not an easy feat.
Q: Is it a success?
A: Yes! In the last several years 98% of all DHS seniors with or without prom dates attend the After Party. It has been and continues to be the go-to choice for our seniors.
Q: Who sponsors it? If it’s free for the kids, who pays for it?
A: The After Party Committee, which is all-parent run and maintains its own finances, reports to the Deerfield Parent Network board. It relies totally on our many volunteers – all of whom spend countless hours planning, executing and supervising all aspects of the event. The committee solicits donations annually from local businesses, members of the Deerfield community, service organizations, and parents so that we can continue to offer the After Party free for all the students who attend.
The Prom After Party is a win-win for everyone – the kids love it and their parents have peace of mind their teens are safe. And for that, you can’t attach a price.