Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Having ball preparing for deb

The Bridge Youth Service having special debutante ball for young people who otherwise would not get opportunity.

CHLOE WARBURTON July 2, 2014 3:04am

Brad Patmore and Amber Fairman with other participants in The Bridge Youth Service debutante ball.

For some teenagers, the debutante ball is a rite of passage, but not all teenagers have the chance to take part in the tradition.

Next month, The Bridge Youth Service will have a special deb ball for young people who missed out on the opportunity to take part in a traditional deb for a variety of reasons — including homelessness, disengagement from school, family issues or pregnancy.

The first The Bridge Youth Service deb ball was at Seymour last year and thanks to its success, a Shepparton event has been organised.

There are 19 committed couples ready to take part in the ball and they have been practising every Wednesday.

The Bridge Youth Service community development officer Jamie Lea said the event aimed to give young people confidence and self-esteem through positive attention, as well as encouraging teamwork skills and community engagement.

‘‘I feel like the young people involved deserve to feel just as special as their peers — it’s the one night in their teenage life they can justify really getting dressed up and being the centre of attention,’’ Ms Lea said.

‘‘They have put in the hard yards so far and have fully committed to dance lessons — the flow-on effects of this experience will impact their life for a long time to come.

‘‘This night is all about positive attention too, showing the young people that the community does care, that those around them only want the best for them and that we are proud of what they can do and have achieved. That little bit of magic has a great effect on a young person.’’

Maree Geisler and her daughter Molly-Anne have donated their time to teach participants how to dance and Ms Lea said The Bridge Youth Service was also asking for help from the community. Long free-standing mirrors and donations of white deb dresses were needed, and sponsors and supporters were needed to help cover costs.

For more information, phone Jamie Lea or Linda King at The Bridge Youth Service on 58312390.

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