February 4, 2019
Writer: J.D. Packer

BYU-Idaho’s Service Activities Department is hosting a special needs Valentine’s Dance on Friday, Feb. 8. Students organize the event for Friends in the Community with special needs. The “Romance in Rexburg” event includes dancing, crafts, and celebrating Valentine’s Day.

“We’ll probably have close around 30 friends there from the community and we will be having music, food, and dancing obviously,” said Megan Sanchez, a co-coordinator for the special needs activities at BYU-Idaho. “Halfway through the dance we will have a guest come in and surprise all the friends and everyone there for a little treat. There will be coloring, lots of laughs, and valentines if you have a little sweet heart you can give a little valentine.”

The friends are members of the community who have disabilities like Down syndrome. Activities like the valentine’s dance gives them an opportunity to make connections with people who want to come and serve.

“A lot of people think they don’t understand a lot, but they understand love,” Sanchez said. “Everyone understands love. So even people we are talking to that are non-verbal they understand when someone is trying to talk to them. When someone gives them a high five or when someone pats their back, it really means a lot to them.”

Ethan Stencil is the other co-coordinator for the Special Needs program. He said there are several events the program has hosted over the years. Events like Spooktacular and Destination Disney.

“We have Disney Princesses come and we have games, activities, and food that’s closely associated with Disney,” he said. “Most of them are themed to the month and we have big events like that.”