Launching Arrows, a nonprofit organization in Oskaloosa, is hosting their first prom for individuals with special needs at the Vermeer Global Pavilion in Pella.

Kelsi Sheets, who created Launching Arrows a few years ago, is coordinating the event. Sheets is a special education teacher at Pella Middle School.

Launching Arrows keeps students active within their community or school who might have financial difficulties.

Sheets got the idea for the prom from the Tim Tebow Foundation, which holds an annual prom for individuals with special needs every year. Tebow has been holding the annual prom for around seven years, Sheets said. Tebow picks 200 churches around the world for the prom. Des Moines was picked a few of years ago.

“They had one in Des Moines a couple of years ago that my sister invited me to help with,” Sheets said. “She is a cosmetologist in Des Moines and volunteered to do the hair and makeup. She brought me along to help. I just fell in love with it.”

Sheets thought it could be an event she could hold locally. She thought about contacting the Tim Tebow Foundation to bring the annual prom to Pella, but then decided to put it all together without waiting on the foundation.

The resources needed for the prom were within Pella and the surrounding communities, Sheets said.

Sheets was inspired by her special needs students to host the annual prom. Her students helped her get through a tough time in her life when her life wasn't going the way she thought it should. This sparked Sheets into trying a new endeavor; a nonprofit organization called Launching Arrows.

“These [special needs] kids saved me every day. They are the reason I got up in the morning and come to work,” Sheets said. “The special needs students were my drive. Why not celebrate them and all the joy they bring to everybody every day, and take one day to make them feel as special as they really are.”

To volunteer for the event, register at

The event is for individuals 12 years of age and older with special needs in Marion and Mahaska counties. The prom will be held from 7p.m.-10 p.m. May 13 at the Vermeer Global Pavilion.

Anyone interested in donating for the event can contact Sheets at, or 641-891-6171.

“This event is about celebrating these individuals, and letting them know their lives matter,” Sheets said. “Special needs students were created with a purpose. It's time these individuals are treated like the kings and queens they are.”

Ethan Goetz is a general assignment reporter for the Knoxville Journal-Express. He can be reached in the newsroom at 641-842-2155, ext. 19, or via email at Follow him on Twitter @Ethan_Goetz.

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