JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Students in Milligan University’s community-based occupational therapy class hosted a prom for Dawn of Hope members at Sinking Creek Baptist Church on Friday.

The prom was an inclusive event for all community members.

“We want to promote integration between those with disabilities and those who might not have disabilities,” said occupational therapy student Savannah Pepin. “We just want to create that sense of community among them all.”

The Milligan students also want to help bring awareness to how occupational therapy helps people with disabilities. Everyday events such as leisure activities and social participation are a part of how they assist others.

“As occupational therapists, our profession actually started in a community-based arena and then we moved away from that using a medical model,” said Assistant Professor Ashley Held. “Now, we encourage our students that we need to get back to our roots and get in the community and find ways to help those who have injuries and illnesses and disabilities. To use what they have and the skills that they have to promote occupations, which is everyday life skills.”

Prom-goers got the opportunity to dance, socialize and take photos. This year’s theme was “Under The Sea.”

Johnson City-based Dawn of Hope’s mission is to provide high-quality, caring, individualized services to enrich the lives of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Northeast Tennessee.

Occupational Therapy students who helped organize prom Savannah Pepin, Maci Shell, Olivia Terwilliger, Tamissa Pierce, along with their assistant professor Ashley Held.