O'Fallon Progress

After-Prom Party is community effort to keep kids safe

The O’Fallon Progress

The O'Fallon Progress serves readers in O'Fallon.
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The O'Fallon Progress serves readers in O'Fallon.

Twenty-seven years ago, the O’Fallon Township decided they could not drop what the high school had started — offering students a safe place to have fun after their prom.

Today, the township personnel and a team of volunteers will provide a special late-night party in the wee hours of May 5. This safe alternative includes games, prizes, food and entertainment. About 400 students are expected to attend this year’s event.

Planned activities include bowling, trivia, pool tables, arcade games, disc-jockey, walk-around magician, digital photos, air-brush tattoo artist, photo booth and the all-time favorite — a caricature artist.

“It keeps the kids inside and is a safe environment. That way, the kids are not running around causing havoc,” said Debbie Allsup, O’Fallon Township Deputy Clerk. “They usually get a really big crowd. I’m really glad the township took it over. They did not want to see it go away.”

Thanks to the business community, plenty of food is available, including Chic-Fil-A, Jersey Mike’s Subs and Flamentco’s pizza, along with veggie and fruit trays for healthier snacking.

Allsup said about 160 gift cards are donated for drawings, valued at $15 each. And then there are the really big prizes.

“Every student that attends will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win the following — and this is a sample of the items and not a complete list: An LG UHD 43” TV, (two) HP Laptop computers, an I-Pad (sixth generation) 32GB, a Vivitar Areo Video Drone, Beats X, Google Home Hub, Samsung HD 32” TV, (two) Insignia Fire Edition 24” TV, a Lenovo Idea Pad and Cardinal Baseball tickets,” she said.

The O’Fallon community has been generous with donations, including O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce members, she said. Many donate cash to the event, for it costs more than $10,000 to produce.

“Every February, letters go out,” she said. “To fund this event, we receive $5 from each prom ticket sold at the high school but the majority of the financing comes from the generous donations of local businesses who routinely contribute each and every year. A listing of the contributors will be displayed at the event.”

Students who want to go to the After-Prom Party but did not attend the prom can come, too. They must be an OTHS student who was eligible to go but did not.

“We do accept walk-ins that were not at the actual prom but still would like to attend. The cost will be $5 at the door. All students are scanned in when they arrive and scanned again when they leave. Once they leave, they will not be allowed to re-enter,” Allsup said.

Allsup said the only component lacking is the number of volunteers needed the night of the event. About 20 are needed to make things run smoothly.

“If anyone is available for even a couple of hours please contact us. Volunteers are needed to help ensure everyone has a fun and safe place to create memories that last a lifetime. The volunteers are the only missing part of this year’s event,” she said.

Township Trustee Frank Morski appeared before the O’Fallon City Council earlier this month to plea for help. Because the prom date was moved to May 4 and an already scheduled event was on the books at the usual place, St. Clair Bowl, the location was moved to the sister business, Bel-Air Bowl in Belleville.

“We would appreciate any help,” he said. “Even a small amount of time is welcome.”

Volunteers can show up at 10:30 p.m. The township people start getting things ready at 10 p.m. The event takes place from 11:30 p.m. May 4 to 3:30 a.m. May 5.

“It’s a lockdown. We’ve never had any problems in the past. The kids are polite, respectful. It’s really an eye-opener,” Morski said.

Gary Hursey, a township trustee, and Dave Witter, township clerk, oversee the project, which requires much work throughout the year. They work with Jodie Seipp, the OTHS prom coordinator.

“It is a really great event, a worthy cause,” Allsup said.

To volunteer or for more information, call the township office at 618-632-3517 or contact Frank Morski at racenitro@sbcglobal.net