PALM SPRINGS – Maria Quintero is a popular girl. The 23-year-old has gone to at least four proms. Four of them.
“We go eat first. Then, we sit around until everybody gets there,” she says. “Then, we dance together.”
But these are no ordinary proms. These proms are for a very special group: residents of the Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation.
The proms began five years ago, and they have become the residents’ most anticipated event of the year.
“A mother called on the first year of the prom,” recalled Mel Haber,Angel View president. “She said she was flying in from San Francisco for the prom because she said it was the only chance her daughter will ever get to attend a prom.”
Maria gave News Channel 3 a tour of her bedroom in a wheelchair. She wore her prom dress from last year. It is a long, pink dress fit for a princess or for a Tinkerbell fan.
Her prom dress this year is very different: A black-and-pink outfit that barely covers her knees.
News Channel 3’s Gil Diaz exclaimed: “Your dress is sexy!”
“Thank you!” Maria says with pride.
She says she will not be planting a kiss on her boyfriend Joey. Maybe next year, she says.
She is a lady, you know.
The prom takes place next Saturday, June 6, at the Palm Springs YMCA. The nearly 100 residents have nothing to worry about. Their corsages, the music, the food, everything, is paid for by the Rotary Club of Palm Springs.
Mel Haber says there is nothing like hearing the laughter and squeals of the residents on prom night.
“It would be heartbreaking if there was ever a year when we didn’t have the event.”
Maria knows already how she’s going to wear her makeup and her hair. A young woman all dolled up deserves another night on the town.