Come Dream with Me 

Written By: Ann Ramsey

On Thursday April 25th, the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Center opened its doors and hearts to the Come Dream with Me Prom, a truly community-driven event that left a lasting impact. Approximately 400 people reveled in a Disco Fever themed night, creating a lively and all-embracing atmosphere. The Band Silver kept the dance floor sizzling, ensuring everyone had a blast. Meg Day’s photo booth was a hub of laughter and smiles, capturing the joy of the evening. It was a magical night as princesses in their ballgowns, complete with crowns, glided around the room, basking in the love and attention of all. Sharply dressed gentlemen came prepared with their boogie shoes on. 

Mrs. Nikki Simpson, a Special Needs teacher at Starr-Iva Middle School, led a passionate and dedicated group of volunteers who were instrumental in every aspect of the event, from the decorations and food service to dancing with the guests. Mrs. Simpson emphasized that this night, filled with joy and inclusivity, would not have been possible without the selfless efforts of the volunteers and the invaluable generosity of the donors.

The Come Dream with Me Prom was initially started by Mrs. Sherry Fuller after her special needs daughter, Amanda, passed away in 2009. In 2011, Sherry was asked to plan an event designed for and dedicated to disabled individuals. While planning this event, she thought about how Amanda loved hanging out with family and friends and listening to music. She wanted the event to create an atmosphere where anyone with special needs and disabilities would feel accepted, loved, and cared for. So, Sherry established the Come Dream with Me Prom as a legacy for her daughter, Amanda. This prom has been a yearly celebration since 2011, only interrupted by a few years due to COVID-19. It is now back on track and will be continued as an annual event, promising more joy, inclusivity, and unforgettable memories under the guidance of the 2024-2025 Come Dream with Me Prom committee.

The prom is open to Anderson County residents only and it is open to people of any age. There is no age requirement. The 2025 Come Dream with Me Prom date has not been set in stone yet, but April 25, 2025, is the date the committee is looking at. Anyone who is interested in volunteering or donating, can contact the 2025 Come Dream with Me Prom committee consisting of:

Honor 4 Heroes – Matthew Hilley PR and contact person at 864.617.5039

Area 14 Special Olympics – Kathy Schofield  or Tessa Hilley at 864.260.4142

Committee Member – Sherry Fuller at 864.245.6033

Operations Director – Nikki Simpson at 864.245.4796

In addition to the Come Dream with Me Prom, Anderson County has other organizations and groups that serve special populations, such as Area 14. This organization shares a building with Anderson Meals on Wheels on Fant Street. Most people have heard of Area 14 Special Olympics, but Area 14 provides many other activities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Co-directors Kathy Schofield and Tessa Hilley head up a program consisting of thirteen-year-round activities and the Rainbow Gang. They host a yearly Trunk-a-Treat, Pageant, and Talent Show. Volunteers are a priceless commodity and are always welcome. Cops Working for Peanuts and their yearly pageant are two of their top fundraisers. These funds are used to help cover the costs of participants’ activities. 

Rainbow Gang is a free program for people who have graduated from or aged out of public school. They are located at 105 S Fant Street and open daily, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. For information or to check availability, call 864-260-4142.

If you are considering a place to volunteer or own a business and would like to partner with one of these events, please get in touch with any event coordinators. No amount is too small, no time is too short,  and no deed goes unnoticed. Let’s do our part to ensure our special population knows how much they are loved.