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Blessing Ball is Nov. 15 for adults with special needs

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By Becky Barnes

If you want to count blessings, Barbara Yearsley and Debbie Brock would put the Leesburg Christian Church-sponsored Blessing Ball right at the top.

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Friday, Nov. 15, will mark the second year the church has hosted Harrison County’s Blessing Ball for residents with disabilities.

Brock said residents of Cynthiana’s two personal care homes -- Shady Lawn and Parkside Manor -- were transported to Southland Christian Church’s Jesus Prom in Lexington for several years.

“They loved it, but it was hard on them,” Brock said. “We’ve got a large population here and it’s nice of them to not have to go so far.”

Yearsley said last year’s event, which was held at the Prizing House, was a huge success. Seventy-five residents with disabilities attended the ball along with their volunteer dates.

Those escorts were trained to understand the special needs of their dates.

Geno’s Formal Wear donated hats for the men and dresses for the women while Harts Dry Cleaning donated the after-the-ball cleaning.

“It’s a real formal affair,” said Brock, adding that each guest will receive a framed photograph with their escort.

This year, the Elks have partnered with Leesburg Christian Church and will provide the venue at no charge.

Yearsley said they are anticipating about 100 residents along with their escorts. They will be treated to BBQ donated by Harrison County Judge-Executive Alex Barnett and Dr. Brian Mulberry.

Each guest will receive a back pack with a t-shirt and other gifts. There will also be prizes awarded throughout the night.

Some of the prizes are made possible with assistance from Kentucky Bank, Cynthiana Baptist Church, Ken’s NewMarket, McDonald’s and Ale-8.

Brock said with two personal care homes in Cynthiana, which is highly unusual for a small town, it was a natural fit to want to do something extra.

Brock said the personal care homes are providing a place to live, hot meals, hot showers and a place to sleep. The are not providing the extras.

“These people are the next thing to being homeless,” Brock said. “Most of the time they come into the home with nothing more than the clothes on their back.”

“We are all just a breath away from that; things can be wiped out in an instant,” added Yearsley.

Brock explained that each resident gets $50 from a disability check. With 95 percent of the residents being smokers, when they have their weekly “pay day,” there’s only $2 or $3 left as spending money for things like soft drinks, coffee or their favorite peanut butter.

Other than the small percentage of residents who can get out and walk to the store, there is nothing for the residents to do to improve their quality of life, Brock said.

The Blessing Ball gives them something to look forward to.

Brock said the goal all along was not only for the residents to have a great evening out, but for the community to get involved and recognize the needs that are right here in Cynthiana.

“The Blessing Ball touches people’s lives,” Brock said, noting that there has already been enough volunteer escorts signed up for the Nov. 15 event.

However, there are always more ways to help ... and not just for the Blessing Ball.

Yearsley explained that each resident’s birthday is celebrated with a cake and all the fanfare that goes with the special day.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or to make a donation should contact Leesburg Christian Church at 859-234-0080.

The Ball will be held at the Elks Lodge, 6-9 p.m. on Nov. 15. The guests are limited to adults and volunteer escorts must be 18 or over.

 “It’s a community effort,” Brock said.