Charity prom for special needs students is a night to remember

A couple at the 2018 prom in February, is enjoying the photo booth.

Night to Shine is a prom night event hosted at over 540 different churches to celebrate people ages 14 and older with special needs. The event, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, allows those attending the prom to shine and sparkle In a safe environment.

Tebow began his foundation in 2010, when he was drafted by the Denver Broncos. He started the foundation due to his firm faith in the Lord and his willing devotion to help those in need and give them a chance to celebrate in a Christian atmosphere.

“It is truly a beautiful night where so many come together to show love and acceptance in so many tangible ways to individuals who often are not seen for the beauty and worth they possess and who often, in other settings, don’t quite fit in or are easily overlooked or excluded,” said Katie Bonner, Volunteer Compliance and Big Hope Coordinator.

This event helps to make each person attending feel special. Who wouldn’t want to be crowned King and Queen of prom? All participants get crowned King and Queen at this prom.

On Friday, February 9th, I had the opportunity to be a part of this great celebration, hosted by the First United Methodist Church in Mansfield.

I volunteered in the photo booth area, and was in good company, with 288 other volunteers attending this fabulous event which hosted over one hundred participants.

It was definitely a festive occasion. Going into the gym, participants walk through an arch which changed from color to color every minute or so. Looking to the right and left, there were glow in the dark chandeliers connected to the hoop of the basketball net which had glow in the dark slinkies attached to it. Near the arch was the photo booth area, decorated with huge black balloons surrounded by a sparkling blue backdrop with silver sparkly stars. Throughout the dance area, there were colorful balloons decorated with strings of glowing bright lights and a chandelier made only with glow sticks.

Everyone is on the dance floor at the Night to Shine prom.

The guests were dressed in formal attire and had the opportunity to walk down the red carpet and receive applause from a team of volunteers. Upon arrival, each person was assigned a buddy who would be with them throughout the evening. Once they teamed up with their buddies, they could either go straight to the gym where they would party and dance, or go and jam out to some fun karaoke songs. As a remembrance of the night, they had the chance to take some photos in the photo booth area.

Many of the people involved in putting this extravagant prom together had a great time.

Megan Bonner, a volunteer buddy of one of the guests, was very excited about the outcome of Night to Shine and repeatedly said, “It was so much fun!”

The D.J. played some upbeat music for all the guests and volunteers to jam out to. All the guests got on the dance floor and pulled out some crazy but fantastic dance moves. At the back of the gym, some volunteers served lemonade, water, cookies, Chick-Fil-A, and more.

Hundreds of black balloons fell from above to end a perfect night. For more information, or to volunteer for next year’s prom, go to https://www.timtebowfoundation.org/ministries/night-to-shine.

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