June 8, 2012 (San Diego)–Rob Shields, a partner at the San Diego law firm of Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP, and his wife Cheryl, have been awarded the 10News Leadership Award for organizing “A Night to Remember,” a prom for students with special needs who reside in San Diego County.
The 10News Leadership Award recognizes role models who provide leadership by standing up for those who need help, therefore improving the quality of life for all San Diegans and making San Diego a better place to live.
This is the second year the San Diego prom was held and it was again a sell-out, with over 550 honored guests (special needs students) and their high school hosts in attendance. Over 50 different San Diego area high schools were represented. The goal of “A Night to Remember,” which was held at Eastlake Church in Chula Vista, is to honor, love and celebrate students who sometimes are marginalized. What makes this prom unique is that each honored guest is paired with a high school student or host. The interaction between the honored guest and host has created more sensitivity and understanding, but more importantly, friendships that continue beyond “A Night to Remember.”
The Shields, who founded the event, were inspired by a similar event in Rob’s hometown of Rockford, Ill. It touched their hearts, and they felt the desire to bring a similar event to San Diego.
“Cheryl and I are honored to receive the 10News Leadership Award. But the real prize is the excitement from our honored guests and witnessing the high school hosts serve and honor a peer while still having genuine fun,” states Shields. “Not only are the honored guests given a night to remember, but so are their families, who consider prom to be a rite of passage for their son or daughter.”
Each special needs student attends the prom at no charge. The girls are given a formal dress and accessories, which they keep, a corsage and are treated to a hair and make-up session. The boys receive a tuxedo for the evening complete with a boutonniere. The students are driven to the prom in limousines and greeted at the event by a red carpet complete with hundreds of paparazzi. Dinner is provided as are professional photos to take home in a goodie bag.
The Shields rely upon in-kind and cash donations and a huge team of volunteers.
In addition to being a committed volunteer, Rob Shields practices products liability defense, representing automobile, motorcycle and heavy equipment manufacturers in state and federal courts.
The Shields live in Eastlake with their nine-year-old triplets.