‘They’re not forgotten:’ Non-profits host Valentine’s Day prom for seniors living in low-income housing

Salvation Army partners with Light Orlando to give seniors a prom to remember

ORLANDO, Fla. – A senior Valentine’s Day prom is bringing joy, laughs and a good time to a community that sometimes might be forgotten.

The Salvation Army along with Light Orlando are partnering to throw seniors living at the Salvation Army’s low-income housing a prom to remember.

Anna Fife is one of the seniors attending the prom. News 6 met with her as she was getting ready for the Valentine’s Day dance.

This is the fourth year a prom has been held for the 319 seniors.

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Fife said this moment takes her back to growing up in Poland, where her love of dance started.

“The first one at the age of 16, I won the first-place dancing in front of 5,000 people in front, but I was good,” Fife said.

Meantime, volunteers from Light Orlando turned the Salvation Army’s gym into a room fit for dancing.

“Well, too often our senior citizens are, you know, they’re alone,” said Troy Wright, the program officer for Light Orlando. “They’re lonely, and so they need this kind of love.”

L.O.V.E., short for the Light Orlando Volunteer Experience, is a weeklong volunteering experience that the organization started to give back to the community.

Created back in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Wright said his organization helps facilitate volunteer opportunities by connecting non-profits with people or other organizations.

“It was inspired by the idea of giving back to the community,” Wright said. “How do we show love to our neighbor? Who is our neighbor? And how do we show love to our neighbor? And that love is shown through acts of service.”

Showing off dance moves with Fife before the big dance, Salvation Army Cpt. Ken Chapman said acts of service like spending time with seniors make a difference.

“Just to spend time with them and to hear their story, to whisper in their ear that somebody cares. We want our seniors to know they’re not forgotten,” Cpt. Chapman said.

Fife agreed, saying this event makes her feel “wonderful.”

“Making people happy and making the beauty, the decorations, the music, the talking people, it’s all important,” Fife said.

Going forward, the Salvation Army is encouraging anyone who wants to give back to their community to give them a call.

As for Light Orlando, their week of love continues Friday with a clean-up in the Pine Hills community starting at Evans High School.

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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.