Therapeutic Recreation Department hosts Valentine’s Dinner for members of ABILITIES program

By Clinton Courier Intern Emily-Kate Ford

Friday night, February 12, Clinton’s Therapeutic Recreation Department held a Valentine’s
dinner for members of the ABILITIES program and others with special needs in the community.
The night consisted of a candlelit dinner, smooth music, and time well spent with friends and
family. These fun activities took the place of the annual ABILITIES Valentine’s dance. According
to the director of the Therapeutic Recreation Department, Chandra Broomfield, this would have
been the ninth year that the dance was held, but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, alternations
had to be made.

“We had to consider how to social distance, but at the same time, we wanted everyone to be
together,” said Broomfield.

After considering the guidelines, the staff planned a night to remember. The building was
decorated with strung lights, candles, flower arrangements, and even a photo backdrop for
pictures. When guests arrived, they were greeted warmly by the hostess and led down the red
carpet to their seats. Instead of serving themselves buffet style like years past, guests were
served by a waiter or waitress. They had time to browse the menu for the evening, then place
their order. The menu included appetizers, salads, the main course, and dessert. After enjoying
the meal, guests had the opportunity to have their photo taken in front of a Valentine’s themed
backdrop with each other.

Some attended the dinner with friends and family, while others saw it as an opportunity for a
nice dinner with their significant other. Brandon McLemore and Haley Davis were excited to
attend the dinner as a couple celebrating their relationship. When asked what his favorite part of
the night was, McLemore answered, “My favorite part has been getting to be with my

Though the night might not have looked like years past, attendees said Broomfield and fellow
staff provided a lovely, fun evening for them to enjoy.


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