The City of Pittsburgh has partnered with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History to host the city’s first-ever alternative homecoming dance for local teens who find it difficult or intimidating to attend their own school’s dance among their classmates.
The dance, called “Wallflowers and Wildflowers: Alternative Homecoming” will take place on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Hall of North American Wildlife and Botany, 4400 Forbes Avenue. Tickets can be bought in advance at the museum’s Teen desk for $3 and are available at the door for $5 the day of the dance, and proceeds benefit free teen programming at partnering organizations. Wallflowers and Wildflowers is strictly for teens in grades 9 through 12 or ages 14 through 17.
“Part of the strategy to stop and prevent bullying is to provide a safe and encouraging outlet for our young people to be themselves and feel confident about who they are,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. “Bullying is a serious issue that we are combating by working collaboratively with schools, community organizations and businesses to help residents learn the signs of bullying, realize how dangerous it is and equip them with the tools to step in and make our city even safer and more welcoming.”
Inspired by the recently released movie Perks of Being a Wallflower, filmed here in Pittsburgh, the Mayor’s Youth Council worked with teen program coordinators at the museums and library to develop ways to curb bullying and provide events and resources for students. “Wallflowers and Wildflowers: Alternative Homecoming” offers a judgment-free environment and welcomes all high-school aged teens to enjoy food, drinks and music along with a silent screening of the movie, raffle items, arts activities and a literary live green screen “homecoming portrait.”
The Youth Council hopes all students, including nontraditional students, embrace this opportunity to celebrate the hidden wallflower in all of us. Students are welcome to bring friends, a date or come alone, and dress as formally or casually as they’d like.
“The Wildflowers and Wallflowers alternative homecoming is a great opportunity for the Youth Council and other teen leaders from the Carnegie Museums and Library to provide an outlet for many students and friends that they know feel uncomfortable with the average school function,” Mayor Ravenstahl said.
“Attendees really have the opportunity to shape this event into whatever they imagine it to be, and I think that it will result in a comfortable and welcoming environment for our young residents to enjoy our world class museum, relax and have fun without the difficulties of peer pressure.”
“Many students in the region can’t take part in traditional homecoming festivities because they attend high school with no sports teams, are home schooled or cyber schooled, are unable to afford it, or because they can’t bring the date they want, among many other reasons,” said Joseph Wilk, teen Specialist at Carnegie Library, Main. “We hope to offer a memorable, fun alternative where they can express themselves and transform from a wallflower to a wildflower.”