MIDTOWN, Manhattan (PIX11) — For many, prom represents the end of high school. But two local organizations put a different spin on the tradition, focusing instead on older New Yorkers.

“I’m having a wonderful time,” participant Sarah Artega told PIX11 News Friday. “I haven’t been out for two years.”

Artega said being able to socialize again was “beautiful.”

Older residents were among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. In honor of their bravery, the Acacia Network and the Institute for Puerto Rican & Hispanic Elderly decided to host a prom for the “Class of 2022” in Midtown.

The nonprofit organizations serve over 5,000 adults ages 60 and over each year. While isolation kept them safe, organizers said it took a toll on their mental and emotional wellbeing.

“We just really wanted to give back to our older adults who have been through so much,” said Gabriela Gonzalez, who works with the Acacia Network.

PIX11 News’ Stacy-Ann Gooden has more in the video above.