Night to Shine is part of the Tim Tebow Foundation. Per their website, “Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older. This February 7, 2020, Night to Shine celebrates its sixth anniversary! On one night, 721 churches from around the world will come together to host Night to Shine for approximately 115,000 honored guests through the support of 215,000 volunteers!” Robin Cox was the local lead for Night to Shine at Unity Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church in Lancaster, SC for their 2nd annual participation.
The night started with the arrival of the guests of honor. Once checked in, a buddy was chosen to accompany each guest. Each guest wore a prom dress or a suit and Night to Shine had some donated dresses and suits available if needed. Every guest and buddy were also given a boutonniere or corsage to complete the prom experience. Then after final touches to hair, makeup, and shoe shines, everyone got to ride in a limo to the dance hall. The limos are a favorite part of the event and most took a lap around the block before dropping the guests off at the dance hall. After exiting the limo, guests and their buddies were able to walk the red carpet. Featuring an emcee introducing each guest, there was a live video feed that went to the Parent’s Room, as well as “paparazzi” cheering and taking lots of photos. Guests and their buddies then each got an official posed portrait before being turned loose on the dance floor. The guests and buddies were also served a sit-down dinner during the dance. 2020’s theme was Game Night. Featuring a photo booth, karaoke room, games, raffles, and much more, this dance is one to remember for a lifetime!
Donna Kennelly, Parent Room Lead, explained that the Parent’s Room is a place for the parents and guardians of the guests to take a break and connect with others in similar situations. With a live feed of the red carpet and dance, parents didn’t miss the special moments. “As a teacher of special needs children I love this type of event. A friend that is on the lead team, asked last year if I would like to participate and I was so excited for the opportunity to work with them on the first event,” says Kennelly. A partial list of Parent Room sponsors includes: Harris Teeter – Sun Valley, Food Lion Lancaster, Stack’s Kitchen, Harris Teeter – Waxhaw, Queens South Grille, El Vallarta, Arby’s -Lancaster, Red Stone Movie Theatre, Carolina Chiropractic and Spinal Rehab, Restorative Bodyworks Therapy, Founders Credit Union, Driven Motos, and Chick-fil-A – Indian Land. And many more sponsors, and scores of volunteers, came together to make this Night to Shine sparkle!
Unity ARP offers a JOY Ministry, a worship service for those with special needs, so hosting a Night to Shine was a natural part of their evolution of service. The church works closely with the Lancaster and Chester County Disability Services with Night to Shine participants from Union County, NC, as well as Lancaster and Chester Counties in SC.
More information about Night to Shine can be found at: www.timtebowfoundation.org