Corey’s Closet to host special 1980s prom May 11

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O P I N I O N

TIMELY WRITER

by John Angelo


Timely WriterBig hair and leg warmers. Hooksett thrift store Corey’s Closet is hosting a 1980s prom for special needs teens and adults on Saturday May 11 at Manchester’s Puritan Event Center from 5:30 to 10:30. Tickets are available at the 1329 Hooksett Road store. The prom tickets are $50 and include a buffet. The event benefits Camp Fatima, a Gilmanton Iron Works summer camp that hosts a pair of two-week sessions for people of varying abilities, Corey among them.

“We’ve sold 100 tickets, we’re halfway there,” Corey’s Closet Director Brenda Sliwerski said in mid-April. “The center holds 200.” Sliwerski is Corey’s Mom.

“People are having trouble coming up with ’80s formal wear,” Corey’s mother Brenda explained. “We’ve opened it up to any 1980s attire. I do have a suitable rack I’ve put together here with the help of Missy’s Closet in Manchester. We are selling these pieces for $20 a apiece with the money  going to Camp Fatima.”

Part of the mission statement for Camp Fatima reads: “…create a community where all are welcome” with a value of “…promoting the health, safety and dignity of all persons.”

The camp is affiliated with the Catholic Church but campers of any religious affiliation – or none  – are welcome. The camp holds both Exceptional Citizens Week and Special Needs Week. The two-week tuition of $2,050 is waived for attending campers. Proceeds from the prom will benefit Exceptional Citizens Week. According to Sliwerski, 180 campers attend the session with eight campers and an equal number of volunteer counselors in each cabin.

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Corey Sliwerski, Jen Kippin, Brenda Sliwerski

Volunteers are essential to Camp Fatima. The fund-raising prom is fortunate to have several professionals offering their services gratis as well. Ryan Noiseaux will be taking standard prom couple photos as well as informals of each table. DJ Ron Content of Funtime Party Bus is spinning the platters and Jen Kippin, who works at Corey’s Closet, is creating all of the centerpieces and other artwork. Kippin teaches an art class at Manchester’s Moore Center, the area agency for folks with developmental disabilities. Content will be wearing the 1980s clothes he wore back in the day. The prom will also feature a 50/50 raffle and a raffle of donated items from the community. These include Red Sox-Yankee tickets. Chances are $5 and are sold at Corey’s Closet and will be available at the prom event.

“Expenses for the camp are three meals a day in the rec hall with fishing, boating, swimming, arts and crafts and a ton of other activities,” Sliwerski said. “They even put on a play. Corey’s favorite thing to do is kickball. He’s the unofficial organizer, coach and whistle-blower. He likes loud noises, commotion and he likes to be the boss.”

Corey’s Closet will be moving to the vacant K-Mart plaza on Hooksett Road closer to Manchester. Work is already being done on the slightly larger space which once housed a state liquor store. The site provides more parking and will make donations more accessible. Donations at the new site will begin on May 7. According to Sliwerski, the store will start moving in June with July 1 the target date for the completion of the move. Updates and additional information can be found on the store’s website and Facebook page. The new location will also offer an additional 1,000 square feet for a total of 7,000 square feet.

“It’s a big goal,” Sliwerski added.

Brenda lost her husband and Corey lost his Father John early in 2023. As far as the store goes, the loss of John left big handyman shoes to fill. Sliwerski says she’s still trying to patch projects together. John’s wicked sense of humor is also missing from the store.

“Moving has been emotional and stressful,” Brenda added. “He built the dressing rooms. He built the walls. He built everything here.”


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You can reach John Angelo at timelywriter@hotmail.com

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About this Author

John Angelo

John Angelo’s humor has appeared in “Publisher’s Weekly,” “Writer’s Digest,” and “American Bookseller.” He is a frequent contributor to the “New Hampshire Business Review.” For a Christmas concert at his Catholic grammar school, the nuns told him to mouth the words and that he’d better not make a sound under any circumstances.