Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Can you believe that here it is Christmas morning and I'm typing this. . . now? Actually, I'm waiting for everyone else to stir and begin our Christmas day celebration. I had some quiet time and my mind was wandering from my To-Do list to dinner preparation and a thousand fleeting ideas in between... you know how that works.

One of those fleeting thoughts was of some additions I wanted to make to the After-Prom website and I thought... "yikes, it has been a long time since I posted a message to my blog". Then the guilt feeling caused me to look in the direction of this computer and I figured I should at least acknowledge all those special people who took it upon themselves to plan a special event for their children's prom.

Life is tough and it is especially challenging for teens (and parents of teens) and it is so rewarding to see so many parents and parent organizations take it upon themselves to plan an after-prom party to protect their kids on what can be the most dangerous night of their lives. To all those concerned parents, teachers and PTO's, I would like to say 'Thank You".

Have a very Merry Christmas and thank you again for your plans and preparation to keep the 2008 Senior Prom a safe and rewarding experience for our teenagers.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, September 14, 2007

After-Prom Party Fundraising

A story appeared yesterday in the Maryland Community Newspapers Online regarding fundraising for school events such as after-prom parties. The article begins by saying...

"Funds raised by high school PTAs in Prince George’s County and Baltimore City will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the state as part of an effort to bolster parental involvement. The legislation, which takes effect Oct. 1, ties into recent requests from Prince George’s school system officials for PTAs to become more active. The state law would match funds up to $5,435 per high school PTA."
Read the entire article here...

If you live in Maryland, this is great news, but if you reside in any of the other 49 states, you may want to contact your local representatives. Show them this story and ask if your state has any such programs in place, and if not... would they be willing to sponsor such a bill.

Lack of funds is possibly the biggest reason most schools or PTO's cite for not having an after-prom event for their school. However, when the goal is saving ONE child's life, no excuse is valid. In my book, the After Prom Party Guide, I spend a great deal of time discussing fundraising and how to launch a successful program. With or without your state's 50/50 fundraising plan, getting your community behind such an event is a must.

If you are not involved in planning your school's after-prom party for 2008, please pass this along to other parents so that they can benefit from this news. Thanks!

BTW: Help us spread the word about the need for schools to hold an after-prom party. Most parents are not aware that this is one of the deadliest weekends of their child's lives... help us spread a "Life Saving Virus" and share the news! See: http://www.lifesavingvirus.com/

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Can it really be August already?

I feel like I did as a child. The school year seemed to go on forever, but the summer vacation flew by in a heartbeat. It seems hard to believe that for many of us, summer is almost over. As more and more schools begin classes in August, summer vacation is about to become a memory.

As parents, educators and caregivers, we are about to embark upon another year of teaching and guiding our children. With that awesome responsibility comes times when we must protect our children from themselves. The high school prom seems far in the future, but planning for that event and the after-prom party that will follow often begins immediately.

In many schools and Parent Teacher Organizations (PTAs), creating committees and assigning tasks for the upcoming year is already under way. Maybe you are involved in such preparation or maybe you know someone who is; regardless of your involvement, I have a request of you...

Please make sure that the right person in your child's school is aware of the After Prom Party Guide. Last year was the first full year that my updated book was available for download and I must admit that it was gratifying to get the feedback I received. One mom from PA wrote that...
"The book was extremely helpful. The part I liked best was the sample letters and checklists. There were a lot of good pointers that we would never have thought of... I will recommend it to anyone I know starting an After Prom." You can read what others have said about my book here...

It is up to us to ensure that this year's prom night is a safe and fun night to remember for our teenagers. Only through planning can we accomplish that. My book can help with that planning process. If you know of anyone who is involved with planning the 2008 High School Prom party.... please send them this link - http://www.after-prom.org

Thank you and best wishes for a safe 2007/2008 school year!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Speaking of teenage drinking...

Rick Badie writes an opinion column about people, places and issues in Gwinnett County, GA. Yesterday he published an article that was titled...

You’re your kid’s parent, not a barkeep

He opened his column with... "In April, a high school senior died after boozing it up at an after-prom party". He goes on to say that, "when it comes to kids and alcohol, hers (an adult charged with permitting such a party) is the face of a peculiar breed of adults". I couldn't possibly due justice to Mr. Badie's article, but I highly recommend that you give it a look.

We need more "opinions" like Mr. Badie's and fewer adults who prefer to be their kids' friend instead of their parent.

Read this excellent article here...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Book Testimonial ~ A+

If your school is planning an after-prom party in 2008, you will need all the help you can get. My book, the After Prom Party Guide can save your organization a lot of time, money, frustration and I personally guarantee that it will help you retain your sanity! That's a pretty bold claim, but you don't need to take my word for it. The following is an email I received from a VERY satisfied customer...
We did have our after prom, it was April 14. It was a HUGE success. The best one the school has ever had and the best attended. We almost doubled the number of students attending from last year.

The book was extremely helpful. The part I liked best was the sample letters and checklists. There were a lot of good pointers that we would never have thought of either. I felt the book was very complete at covering all the areas of "what could go wrong" and how to prevent it. Luckily for us we had no problems but we were prepared!

I also really liked how easily the book read and how it was divided up. I printed it and then gave each of my committee heads the chapter that applied to them. They also found that very helpful, especially since none of us had ever done an After Prom party before. Whenever an issue came up we looked in the book and most times there was some piece of advice to help us.

Thanks so much for a wonderful book. I will recommend it to anyone I know starting an After Prom.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Hosts Of Post-Prom Party Fined

Adults Seized Car Keys, But Allowed Minors To Have Alcohol

This true story dovetails with the previous blog post regarding the problems parents face trying to address the after-prom celebrating and the inevitable parties that follow...

The parents in this case wanted to keep the teens from drinking and driving after the prom. They offered their home and even took the car keys from all kids who attended. Safety was the reason behind this private after-prom party. (see full story)

Under their state's law, it is illegal for a property owner to permit anyone under 21 to possess alcohol on the property or for the owner to fail to make reasonable efforts to stop a minor from possessing alcohol on the property, including private homes. This law makes a first offense an infraction and subsequent offenses subject to as much as one year in prison, a fine of up to $500, or both.

They had good intentions, but unknowingly were breaking a law that cost them hundreds of dollars in fines and one tough lesson. Knowing that kids will be kids and there is a "tradition" of after-prom drinking and partying, this seemed like a good way to address the problem. Unfortunately, the police didn't agree with their solution.

Sometimes even our best intentions are not the best solution to a problem. Helping parents and schools address this was the reason I wrote my book, the After Prom Party Guide. It is a blueprint for planning, staging and managing an after-prom party or after-graduation party.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The party's over...

The 2007 prom season is winding down as most schools have already had their proms or are scheduled to do so in the upcoming weeks. It has been a happy time for some, and the worst of times for others. As is usually the case at this time of the year, the news stories have been coming in relating "Prom Night Tragedies". I monitor prom-related news and stories via Google Alerts and seldom a day goes by that stories such as this are reported...

"Several of the underage people had made statements that the alcoholic beverages was (sic) provided by the home owners," the warrants stated.

Two high school seniors and the mother of a girl who threw an after-prom party have been charged as part of the investigation in the death of an 18-year-old student at the party.

2 Students, Adult Charged In After-Prom Party Where 1 Died

When 'little prom party blew up'

Once prom ended, the partying began

Many of those schools or organizations that did not sponsor an all night after-prom party saw such things happen in their communities. It is not enough that some kids or parents sponsor an "un-official" after-prom party as these private affairs have a way of getting out of hand. In addition, some parents think they are doing the kids a favor by providing alcohol to teens in a "supervised" fashion.

The 2007 prom season may be over, but we still have graduation ahead of us and the same after-graduation parties are planned. It is not too late to get your organization motivated to organize an event that will keep the kids safe on this special night. My book may be titled the "After Prom Party Guide", but it plays just as well for graduation party planning.

To all those parents, schools, PTAs/PTOs and other organizations who had the foresight to plan a party for the kids....

Thank You!
You may have saved someones life!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Prom and graduation season is upon us...

There is a wonderful website for a group based in Columbus, Ohio called the Drug-Free Action Alliance. Their mission is to provide leadership and foster networks to promote safe and drug free communities throughout Ohio. They want to increase public awareness of substance abuse and its harmful effects and the role of Drug-Free Action Alliance in substance abuse prevention.

They have an excellent article on their website, which I am going to include below as it addresses something that we hear about every year at this time... parents who host parties for teens and serve (or permit) alcohol at these parties. The article is entitled "Parents Who Host, Lose The Most".

Don’t be a party to teenage drinking

Parents play a major role in their children’s choices about alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. In a recent national survey of parents and teens by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, one-third of teen partygoers have been to parties where teens were drinking alcohol, smoking pot, or using cocaine, Ecstasy or prescription drugs while a parent was present. By age 17, nearly half (46 percent) of teens have been at such parties where parents were present.

Drug-Free Action Alliance has developed the “Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking” public awareness campaign to provide parents with accurate information about the health risks of underage drinking and the legal consequences of providing alcohol to youth. The campaign encourages parents and the community to send a unified message at prom and graduation time that teen alcohol consumption is not acceptable. It is illegal, unsafe, and unhealthy for anyone under age 21 to drink alcohol.Here are the facts:
  • Parents who give alcohol to their teen’s friends under any circumstances, even in their own homes, are breaking the law.
  • Parents who knowingly allow a person under 21 to remain in their home or on their property while consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages can be prosecuted and everything associated with such a violation can be confiscated, including personal property.
  • Parents can be sued if they give alcohol to anyone under 21 and they in turn hurt someone, hurt themselves or damage property.Underage use of alcohol is a serious problem that too often leads to harmful consequences for youth and their families. Parents can protect themselves and their teens by following these guidelines when hosting parties for their children:
  • Host safe, alcohol-free activities and events for youth during prom and graduation season
  • Refuse to supply alcohol to children or allow drinking in your home or on your property
  • Be at home when your teenager has a party
  • Make sure your teenager’s friends do not bring alcohol into your home
  • Talk to other parents about not providing alcohol at youth events
  • Report underage drinking
More information about “Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking” is available at www.DrugFreeActionAlliance.org.

There is still time to pull together an alcohol-free party for your school's senior prom, get the After Prom Party Guide - and get busy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A bus to the prom?

Sure sounds awful, doesn't it - if you're a teenager - to be forced onto a bus for prom transportation? Lexington High School in Attleboro, MA is joining a handful of other schools in requiring that juniors and seniors travel to and from proms this spring on chartered buses. As you might expect, many students are reportedly furious and protesting. Read the entire story...

We don't need to enter into a debate about prom bussing - goodness knows the purpose is the same that motivated me to write the After Prom Party Guide. First and foremost we want to keep our kids safe on what has become one of the deadliest nights of their lives. The after prom party addresses that challenge, but there is still the transportation to and from the prom and the party.

Over time, we may see more and more schools take this stance. An accident in a community or rightful concern for school liability issues may prompt some to consider this as an option. This may be the strongest case for hiring a limo for most parents. We may not like the additional expense, but knowing the kids are safe and not behind the wheel is a good thing.

NOTE: If you are weighing such options, please take a moment to look at the Limos.com feature in the resource area of my website. Limos.com has a neat service that lets you shop for a limousine from virtually any city in the country. For parents, remember this service when you need airport transportation, too. Try Limos.com free quote service.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Prom party to be cancelled...

"Time is running out for parent volunteers to come forward... After more than 50 years as a staple of the spring prom, the parent-sponsored prom-to-dawn event is on death row due to an absence of volunteers. "As of this date, we don’t have anyone to do it,” said superintendent".....

You can read the rest of the article here, but this caption provides the essence of the story. A sad commentary on funding concerns and parents not being involved.

No, this is not a commentary on the parents of this particular high school, sadly this is happening in too many schools across the country. People are busy managing their lives, and most parents just don't realize the full reason for having an after prom party.

Ask any parent of any high school student that if having a party would save the life of one senior, could they find the time and money? If we could ask that question of each parent, this year's party would be the largest, most attended event in history. Unfortunately, most parents just don't know.

In my case, our high school was experiencing the same problem, there were no plans (or budget) to hold an after-prom party the year my daughter was asked to the prom. When I learned this I took it upon myself to do something about it. What you don't know is that I pulled together our affair in less than eight weeks.

Ideally, planning something like this should begin many months before the prom, but it can be done in a hurry if you are late getting started. I learned the hard way - what to do - and what not to do to stage a successful After Prom celebration.

If this scenario is being played out in your community, you can make a difference. You don't need an expensive event planner and a budget budget to make this happen. For my daughter's after prom party, we started with no dollars and no parents and ended up having the best party our high school ever had! The missing component is "you". Someone who will make the commitment of time and start the process to get other parents involved. Once that happens, nothing can stop you. THAT is why I wrote my book, the After Prom Party Guide.

It is easier to walk in the footsteps of others than blaze a new trail yourself.

Let me help you save time and show you how to raise the money for your community's after prom party. Hey, together we just may save a child's life. Learn more about the book...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Prom Party Resources

Hey folks, have you have spent any time on the party resource area of our website yet? This is where we link to many of the helpful resources I mention in the book. If you are in the process of planning your prom party, take a few minutes to see what we have pulled together. We have links from everything from discount party decorations to corsages and even free prom dresses. Check it out here.

One of the really helpful links we found is a nationwide search company called Limos.com that can find and reserve a limousine for the big night. They also are a great resource for airport trips and other such transportation needs. Take a test drive of their reservation service here.

I've heard from many of you who are now fully absorbed in the planning of your school's after prom party. I wish you all the best and hope that because of my book, you were able to save money or get at least one good idea that will help make your event a success.

If you are a new visitor to this blog and haven't yet discovered the After Prom Party Guide, I encourage you to visit our website and see what the book is all about. These after prom events are VERY important and just may save a teenager's life.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Prom Night Tragedy

Readers of this blog know that I wrote the After Prom Party Guide hoping to save some teenagers lives. We have all heard about prom night parties and celebrations that got out of hand and resulted in police involvement and embarrassed parents. Unfortunately, too many of those parties result in young people losing their lives because of such wild, unchaperoned revelry.

Mac Bledsoe is a famous author of the Parenting With Dignity books and DVD parenting program that has been featured on ABC's 20/20, the Today show and countless other TV and radio shows. Mac had the unfortunate personal experience of staying the night in a hotel while an after prom party was being held on his floor. He posted an entry on his blog yesterday about that incident.

Mac's story is not just about an interrupted night's sleep, that party ended tragically with the deaths of teens involved in an auto accident later that night. All one has to do is hear about such a sad account to realize that as parents we really do have to protect our children from themselves.

That my friends is why I wrote the After Prom Party Guide. If you have a teenager, know a family who has a prom-age teenager, or just want to help us spread this message. Please send this website address to everyone you can think of... help us start a Life Saving Virus! If you tell 3 people and they tell 3 people... together we can save some kids' lives.

Help us spread the word!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Prom Party Time Approaching

Hey parents, its time!

The High School prom is only a couple short months away and if your school or PTA/PTO organization hasn't yet finalized plans for an after-prom party… now's the time for action.

The sooner a plan is put in place - the better - for all concerned. The kids will get a first rate event, and you parents who are charged with pulling this together will sleep easier knowing what to do to make this a successful party. Fact is, even if your planning in in place and your organization is holding meetings and laying the groundwork, I'll bet there is something you could be forgetting. My after prom party planning guide leaves no stone unturned and just may offer some help in areas you haven't planned for. Whether it be security concerns, choosing the right menu or figuring out how you will entertain a group of kids for the night - I think I can help.

If you haven't yet downloaded a copy of the After Prom Party Guide… its time!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

After Prom Party Entertainment

I received an email from a PTA mom who asked, "What's a good entertainment idea to have for an after-prom party?"

The best answer is to quote from my book's Event Planning section which says:

Most likely, the evening’s entertainment will be influenced by the "theme" you select for the party. As an example, if you choose a Casino Night theme, most of the entertainment is provided by the variety of Las Vegas style casino games.

Regardless of your party's theme, you will need to plan other entertainment activities to supplement the main party theme. Remember, this will be an "all-night" affair. No matter how well planned, the excitement will ebb and flow, so have plenty of clever ideas prepared. You don’t want to have long gaps between activities. Have some "mini events" sprinkled throughout the room. As an example, contact local colleges’ art departments and ask for volunteers to sketch caricatures. Put out the call for amateur magicians who would mingle with the crowd performing close-up magic tricks - hypnotists, handwriting analysts too!

Schedule activities that will continue all night, but don’t forget to plan some relaxing activities as well. Even teenagers will have trouble partying all night unless there is a balance of things to do. Some may enjoy sitting and playing a board game such as bingo especially if the prizes are appealing.

Contact the school’s yearbook committee in advance and ask if they would assemble a class history pictorial slide show. This could be played as the party is getting started or played when there is a pause in the excitement.

Create a posterity wall. Cover a wall with thick white paper (i.e. butcher paper) and encourage students to write a message or add graffiti. Offer to give the paper to a class leader to keep until the 5 or 10 year class reunion.

Film the After Prom party. Ask a parent volunteer to film a video of the party and play it as breakfast is being served and things are winding down.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

After Prom Party Guide endorsement

The following press release is scheduled for January 15, 2007

After Prom Party Guide endorsed by former PTA State Executive Director

After Prom Party Guide is a "Fast Start" blueprint for planning high school after-prom parties offered as an instant download. Learn how to make prom night one to remember - not a tragic night to forget.

KALISPELL, MT – January 15, 2007- Already recommended by parents and well-known parenting experts like Mac Bledsoe, author of the Parenting With Dignity books and videos, Lori Heatherington’s new book, the After Prom Party Guide has received praise from former Washington state PTA Executive Director, Jim Carpenter. Jim headed the Washington state PTA from 1985 to 2000. After reviewing the final manuscript, he said:
“As a former executive director with the Washington State PTA, I wish this book had been available when I was working closely with PTAs and schools. This is an excellent resource and an outstanding planning guide for parents who want to plan an effective and fun post-graduation party – a party that the students will want to attend and a party at which they will be safe. I highly recommend it and encourage every parent group to get this book.”

The premise of the After Prom Party Guide is to provide parents, schools, PTAs and PTOs with a detailed step-by-step instruction manual about how to plan and stage an after prom party. The guide covers every facet of event planning from fundraising and facility options to liability and security concerns, party themes, entertainment, decorating tips, and every essential issue related to producing such an important event. Included in this book and the complimentary website, are sample solicitation letters, checklists and even an ingenious telemarketing script to be used when requesting cash and product donations from businesses. Heatherington’s book also offers tips on how to win over the teenagers by promising and delivering a fun-filled and entertaining event.

“I am very excited that my book is now attracting such significant attention; this is so important. My goal is to get this book in the hands of every school and parent’s organization, or any parent that wants to make sure their child has something fun to do on one of the most dangerous nights of their lives. Most parents are simply not aware that thousands of American teenagers will be injured and scores will be killed on the night of their senior prom. Solving this crisis is what this book is all about”, says Mrs. Heatherington.

About the Author and After Prom.org

Lori works full-time for the Humane Society of Northwest Montana as Administrative Director. After Prom.org™ is owned and operated by Lori Heatherington, author, mom and owner of a small consulting business. She holds a marketing degree from Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, Texas. The 'After Prom Party Guide' sells for $24.97 and is available for immediate download from her website, www.after-prom.org.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year Recommendation

Happy New Year everyone. I hope that your family had a wonderful holiday and a safe New Year's celebration. Our family played it low key this year, we stayed home with a cozy fire and watched the ball drop in New York - even if it was two time zones away.

One of the worst things about holidays, and yes, proms and graduations, is the need so many people feel to overdo the celebrating. I'm not just talking about kids here, how many times have you seen a mature adult throw good sense out the window and get in a car and drive after a party where too much alcohol was 'enjoyed'.

That kind of thinking is what gets so many kids in trouble with prom and graduation celebrations. They just don't know how much is enough and years of experience is not on their side. Forget the fact that they're under age, if given the opportunity far too many will choose to celebrate their "coming of age" with alcohol... or drugs.

Protecting our teenagers from themselves was the motivation behind me organizing our first After Prom Party, and then write the book on how to plan such an event. This year, how about making a resolution to do what you can to make your teens prom and graduation an affair to remember. Let's try to save a life and offer the kids a safe and fun alternative to rowdy parties and after hours carousing. Get a copy of my book for your school or your PTA/PTO and help pull together a celebration that will give all the kids great memories - and hopefully save a child's life.

Make 2007 a Happy New Year