Winter dance held for special needs students

The Winter Ball is for students who attend the Valley Achievement Center in Bakersfield.
BAKERSFIELD, CA - It's a right of passage for most teens, getting to go to a school dance.

Friday night, students at the Valley Achievement Center in Bakersfield celebrated at their own winter formal.

The center specializes in teaching individuals with special needs like autism or Asperger's Syndrome.

One volunteer who organized the event, says this was a chance to give these students a night of their own.

"Most of these kids attend school here and they don't have the same opportunity as these kids to attend a prom or a formal. So we just wanted to have something fun to be a part of," said Vanessa Hernandez, Valley Achievement Center.

The fun started before the dance. One mother said her children's excitement grew as they were getting ready.

"It was just wonderful as a mom to be able to get them ready. This is their first formal ever," said Evelyn Mora.

Since enrolling her two kids at the school, Evelyn Mora has seen a noticeable difference.

"In public school it was very limited, and since they have come here my daughter has made a year and a half progress in a year. It's just amazing," said Mora.

But, this night was not about academics. It was more about making dreams come true.

"It makes me feel awesome. It makes me feel like a princess," said Angela Mora. "It makes me feel like butterflies are flying around me and angels. It makes me feel happy."

If you would like to learn more about the Valley Achievement Center or become a volunteer go to
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