FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2022
New York, NY – After two years of virtual gatherings, The International Academy of Hope (iHOPE) is thrilled to host an in-person prom on Friday, June 17 from 1-3 pm at its brand-new 85,000 square feet school site at 825 Seventh Avenue at the corner of W53rd Street. Students at the highly specialized school serving young people with traumatic brain injury, were involved in every part of the upcoming celebrations, including making the decorations, choosing their outfits, and preparing their presentations for their families who are also invited to attend.
Starting at 9 am, students will have the opportunity to have their hair and make-up done by community volunteers who will be at the new school. Many students decide to dress up, but they are encouraged to join the event wearing whatever makes them feel comfortable and happy. Traditional prom clothing will be available for students to borrow at the pop-up store in the school if they choose. The day will also include games, a photo booth, music, and dancing. Each student's paraprofessional will stay with them during the day.
“The iHOPE Occupational Therapy Department is so excited to host this year’s prom in-person in our brand-new school,” said Jennifer Hensley, Director of Occupational Therapy at iHOPE. “Our accessibly designed space and event allow us to meet the preferences and needs of all our students so that each student can have a one-of-a-kind, individualized prom experience.”
Tripling in size, the school relocated in April from its home in West Harlem to the new location in Midtown Manhattan. In addition to offering a range of education and therapy services under one roof, the larger facility allows students to benefit from a literacy-rich curriculum that incorporates multidisciplinary and collaborative models including cognitive strategies, small group instruction, assistive technology, therapeutic intervention, behavior management, physical rehabilitation, social interaction, and transition services.
“As occupational therapists, we strive to provide a fully accessible experience and environment for our students.” said Hensley. “iHOPE’s new site allows us to create just that.”
iHOPE is part of YAI, which offers a comprehensive range of services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 2013, the school fulfills the unmet needs of students with traumatic brain injuries in the community while serving as a model of best practices in the delivery of special education services.
ABOUT YAI: Founded in 1957, YAI remains at the forefront of an extraordinary movement aimed at empowering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. YAI and its network of affiliate agencies offer children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities a comprehensive range of services. YAI is committed to seeing beyond disability, providing opportunities for people to live, love, work, and learn in their communities. YAI’s 4,000 employees provide supportive housing, education, medical, dental, and mental health care, job training, community integration, and social enrichment for more than 20,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families, in New York, New Jersey, and California.