STEP UP Valentines Day Dance

A Valentine’s Day Dance to Remember . . .

By:  Megan Metcalf, Student Volunteer, Institute for Disability Studies

St. Valentine’s Day, more commonly known as Valentine’s Day, is a holiday celebrated once a year. People exchange gifts, flowers, and cards and surround themselves with the people that they adore the most . . . in other words, they surround themselves with their “valentines.”

The STEP UP (Starting Today Empowering Peers through Uniting and Participating) to Leadership Council, composed of youth and young adults with and without disabilities, celebrated this holiday with a fantastic dance for any and all who wanted to attend. The council focuses on addressing issues all young people face with emphasis placed on issues facing young people with disabilities.

In order to prepare youth and young adults for the dance, a dance lesson was held on February12th.  The dance lesson was a huge success thanks to Ms. Haley Walley, a Lucky Day Scholar, who volunteered her time and talent. 

As the day arrived, members of the STEP UP to Leadership Council worked together to make the dance an experience that would hopefully bring an exciting night to all guests.

Several volunteers joined Dr. Jerry R. Alliston, Coordinator for Community Inclusion and Volunteer Service at the Institute for Disability Studies, at the Oak Grove Community Center to decorate for the night’s festivities. Hearts, candy, and balloons filled the center by the time the volunteers were finished.

Prior to the dance, any ladies who wanted their hair and make-up done for the formal event were invited to Dr. Alliston’s house, where volunteers, including his daughter and STEP UP Member Madison, were ready to serve.

By six o’clock, the dance had officially begun! People began to trickle in to eat pizza, cake, and other snacks and then headed out to the dance floor to dance the evening away. Couples, friends, and even strangers bonded together over the music and excitement that pulsed through the room thanks to the DJ. And, of course, what dance could be a real dance without the famed Cha-Cha Slide?


After a night full of energy and vivacious dancing, the members in attendance slowly descended into a state of exhaustion, drawing the night to a close.

As the STEP UP to Leadership Council and its guests began to leave the dance after a night of fun, one could say that it was most definitely a night that will be remembered for the rest of their lives.


For more information on the STEP UP Council, a subcommittee of the Institute for Disabilities Studies’ overall advisory council, visit the website or contact the staff liaison Dr. Jerry R. Alliston.