For a number of New Jersey high school students, attending senior prom was out of the question.
Between the cost of tickets, a tuxedo rental/dress and transportation, their families couldn’t justify the expense—not in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which left thousands on the Eastern seaboard of the United States homeless in 2013.
Strapped with the financial burden of rebuilding, many high school students stayed home on prom night last year—a wrong Steve Weatherford is looking to right.
The New York Giants punter attended two proms in the New Jersey area over the past weekend—part of his larger “#ProjectProm” campaign aimed to give the young victims of Hurricane Sandy the same high school experience as their classmates.
Rob Spahr of NJ.com interviewed Weatherford, who says he and friend Donald Shauger began formulating the idea in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“You see all these different charities replacing tangible items, but you didn’t hear about anybody replacing life experiences that these kids are going to miss out on due to the hardships that came along with Hurricane Sandy,” Weatherford said. “I wanted to give them something that was going to last and a life experience is going to last them forever.”
With the help of local businesses and other sponsors, Weatherford was able to raise enough money to pay for tickets, clothing, makeup and transportation for 20 high school students in the New Jersey area.
Making good on his promise to personally attend the proms, Weatherford went to two different soirees over the course of the weekend.
The punter’s first stop was the Bayonne High School prom on Friday night. According to Amanda Eisenberg of The Jersey Journal, Weatherford showed up in a white Bentley convertible with a pair of young fans.
The next stop on Weatherford’s “#ProjectProm” tour was Southern Regional High School’s senior prom on Saturday night.
The punter took pictures with fans and greeted the 20 students his charitable work sponsored for the event.
He even obliged a young, Philadelphia Eagles fan.
In all, it was a fun walk down memory lane for Weatherford, whose own prom may be 13 years in the past, but still brings back happy memories.
As for the future, Weatherford says he plans to continue sponsoring students whose financial situations make attending prom impossible.
“I would’ve loved to have been able to financially take care of everybody to go,” Weatherford said. “But we’re starting it small scale this year, it’s only 20 students...I hope we’ll be able to do several high schools next year. That’s my dream.”
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