NAUGATUCK — For most high school seniors, the prom is a night to celebrate the end of a high school career.
For Naugatuck High School senior Carly Davis, her senior prom was a celebration of those who turned out to help her.
The prom, which was held May 30, almost didn’t happen for Davis.
“We couldn’t really afford to do my prom,” Davis said.
Heather LaSelle, a counselor at Wellmore Behavioral Health, did not want Davis to miss her prom. LaSelle began reaching out to people and organizations to see if she could find someone to help.
LaSelle’s search eventually reached the New England NightMare, a women’s football team based in Windsor. Players from the team paid for Davis’ dress, her tickets to prom, a manicure and come to Naugatuck the day of the prom to do her makeup.
NightMare captain and quarterback Yvonne Howard said the team has never done anything like this before, but knew immediately that they wanted to help.
“Something inside me said, ‘I can’t let this girl miss a memorable night for something that’s out of her control.’ So I went to my teammates immediately, called stores, all the resources I knew, to get the ball rolling to make Operation Carly Prom in action,” Howard said.
Players contacted Davis in April to let her know they wanted to help and meet.
“They wanted to meet me and everything. So me and my mom went out and met the whole team,” Davis said. “A few of them told me some of the things they were going to do for me, like my hair and nails. The team gave me money to buy a prom dress.”
Over the next couple of months, Davis found the players were not only helping her with the prom, but becoming friends she could reach out to when she had a problem.
“When I was upset I would text one of them and they would help me through whatever was going on,” Davis said.
On the day of the prom some of the members of the team came over to Davis’ house to help get her ready for the prom and style her hair.
“They were talking to her the whole time, asking her about school, what is she going to after school. They are just a wonderful group of women that didn’t know this girl until Heather got in touch with them. … She didn’t even realize the team was going to come together and take on Carly as their girl,” Davis’ mother Cyndi Davis said. “It just totally made Carly a princess for the day. Even her face, I don’t think anything could have wiped the glow off of it.”
The experience was a happy one for the NightMare as well.
“The experience of it all was something I can’t explain. It was exciting to be able to tell her we got hair, and makeup and nails, and just to be able to get her a dress was like a real life Cinderella story,” Howard said.
After all the work had finally been done, Davis was able to attend the prom with her boyfriend and had a “wonderful time.”
Although the prom is over, the New England Nightmare may still play a role in Davis’ life as she hopes to be part of the team.
Howard said she would encourage Davis, as well as any woman who is interested, to try out for the team.
“We encourage all women, from the stay-at-home mom, to the athlete that’s retried from college and needs that extra exercise. Our organization is a mini-family,” Howard said.