"The best night of my life!" ~a Night to Shine guest
Friday, February 9, 2018, was truly a Night to Shine! About 540 churches worldwide hosted Night to Shine proms in all 50 states and 16 countries. If you are unfamiliar with Night to Shine, it's a ministry of the Tim Tebow Foundation. The website states, "Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God's love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older." This year there were approximately 90,000 honored guests, with the support of 175,000 volunteers all over the world. That's one big prom night!
My husband and I volunteered with about 150 other folks (ages 16 and up) as our church hosted our first Night to Shine prom. Many volunteers were from our church, and others were from nearby churches who wanted to get involved. With so many details to take care of before, during, and after the prom, one volunteer shared it was like a million-piece puzzle that was so amazing to see come together. As the saying goes, "Many hands make the work light."
Nearly 75 guests attended our Night to Shine event, along with their caregivers. Guests arrived for check-in, and volunteers hung up their coats. Each guest received a corsage or boutonniere, and then the ladies had their hair fancied up, while the gentlemen got a shoe shine. Next, limousines carried guests for their grand entrance on the Red Carpet as crowds cheered and paparazzi flashed pictures. "Buddy" volunteers escorted guests throughout the evening, including a delicious sit-down dinner.
After dinner, the DJ really got the party rocking! Music, lights, cameras, and action were everywhere. It was all about dancing and having a great time. Each guest got crowned King or Queen of the prom before the evening ended. Royalty abounded. Swag Bags went home with each guest filled with lots of goodies to remember the evening, including a prom picture and a beautiful Night to Shine picture frame.
It was quite a night! Volunteers knew that doing this would bless our guests, but we all came away feeling blessed in so many ways by our guests. Seeing pure joy through smiles, and sometimes happy tears, on their faces blessed us all. We will cherish many memories. I personally will not forget the young girl who when I told her how pretty she looked in her beautiful red dress kept saying she wanted to go down the Red Carpet again. "Let's go do it," I said. We made our way there, she walked, we cheered, and anyone nearby joined in. Her smile was radiant. The next day I saw the videographer's online post. He had captured her "crowning" moment. Her expression was precious. She truly is royalty!