With many choices of places for prom-goers to go after the dance, one local venue offers all the fun a senior could want.
With the arrival of another high school prom season in the Crescenta Valley comes another chance to honor the memory of Berlyn Cosman, and to recognize the success of an organization put in place in the decades since her life was taken.
On May 21, Crescenta Valley High School students will attend their prom, and then have the option of heading over to one of many after-prom parties. But year after year, hundreds of students have chosen to make what is most likely the safest choice by celebrating at the Crescenta-Cañada Y, which is where Prom Plus is held.
Not that Prom Plus is just safe – there’s a myriad of activities in which everyone can participate. From midnight to 5 a.m., teenagers can play in a makeshift casino, and have the option of climbing a rock wall or riding a gyroscope or zip line.
Prom Plus annually hosts 400 to 500 kids. It is free for prom-goers to attend and $20 for seniors who don’t attend prom. The organization holds several fundraisers each year, most recently the Taste of Montrose event earlier this month in the Montrose Shopping Park, and that includes CVHS students who work year-round to raise money and awareness for the cause.
“I’ve stayed involved all these years because it’s a really worthwhile cause,” said Nancy Robertson, a Prom Plus board member whose two daughters attended the event in past years. “Seeing the Prom Plus Club, it’s really inspiring to see the kids do so much. It’s really exciting to me.”
This will be the 22nd after-prom event hosted by the organization. The purpose is to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for students after prom so stories like Cosman’s don’t happen again.
Cosman was a CVHS senior and basketball scholarship recipient who was shot and killed at an unsupervised after-prom party in Anaheim in 1991. In 1994, after years of working on the idea, community members created Prom Plus, a safe but fun after-prom party for CVHS seniors and their guests.
For the first few years, the event was held at the then-empty Clark Junior High School. It later moved to Crescenta-Cañada YMCA. Over the years, the organization raised money by holding bake sales on the campus, boutiques, home tours and the Taste of Montrose. It appealed to the community, including local politicians – L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich donates every year – and from the high school, particularly ASB, which has been a main supporter over the years.
It wasn’t until around 2009 when PP began to grow even more with the creation of the student-led Prom Plus Club. Once it was announced by Prom Plus Club members that Prom Plus was a “$25,000 party,” attendance rose considerably. Prom Plus Club raised the visibility of the event and gave PPC members a way to earn their community service hours. Over the years the PPC has evolved into one of the most valued service organizations in the Crescenta Valley. Last year, Prom Plus distributed scholarships to a couple of graduating PPC members.
One change Robertson would like to see within the organization is the involvement of parents of younger kids.
“The only thing is we need to get are more parents involved because most of us on the board, our kids are long gone. We’re trying to get more of the Rosemont kids’ parents or elementary school parents involved,” she said.
The reputation of Prom Plus is reliant on the people who work the event and the vendors hired for the event. L.A. Partyworks provides the “toys,” such as the zip line, climbing wall, gyroscope, bungee run and laser tag. South Bay Casino provides the casino. Two magicians from the Magic Castle donate their services, and caricaturists from local theme parks have been on-site in past years.
“The only reason kids leave is because they’re tired,” Robertson said, “not because it’s boring.”
Food is donated by local families and restaurants. That includes everything from pizza to mac n cheese to pulled pork sandwiches to smoothies.
Prom Plus organizers said this year fundraising efforts are down and, as the final arrangements are being made, some activities may need to be cut. There is still time for donations, and those can be sent to Prom Plus, P.O. Box 212, Verdugo City, CA 91046.