I went to a prom Friday night and I danced the night away with anyone that would dance with me! The Cupid Shuffle, the Cha Cha Slide, the Chicken Dance, the YMCA and whatever else. It was a blast!
Last Friday, February 8 was the date of the Night to Shine (NTS) prom for special needs individuals ages 14 and up across the world. My community hosted 350+ special needs individuals. The NTS movement started five years ago as an outreach program from the Tim Tebow Foundation and this year marked the fifth year for the event. The NTS has been wildly successful; this year the event was held in over 650 communities, which included all 50 states and a score of foreign countries. Imagine places like Uganda, India, Ukraine and Rwanda celebrating their special needs residents. You can learn more about it here.
Mr. Tebow says that he started this as an event to honor and celebrate individuals with special needs. I have no doubt that this event’s success and exponential growth is largely due to Mr. Tebow’s earnest support of this ministry. (I mean c’mon….a popular, Heisman winning, handsome, young, minor league baseball playing, stand up Christian man gets behind it…it’s going to grow) The Tim Tebow Foundation partners with an area church in each community that hosts a NTS event to serve as the anchor for the event. This was only the second year for NTS in our community. All the trappings of prom were there: great decorations, a red carpet entry for the guests, a band/DJ, corsages, limos, fancy dresses and tuxedos, keepsake photos, food, and party favors. Our event had 300 volunteers, and 200 chaperones, in addition to the 350 guests. We had fireworks (which were simulcast inside for our guests that do not tolerate loud noises), buggy rides and a very popular hot chocolate bar. We had high school students cheer on our guests as they arrived on the red carpet and dance with them if they wanted a dance partner. This event is a way for our community to embrace these guests of honor and just have a great time!
My special needs sister attended NTS back home in my home town. She loves this event and looks forward to it all year. Several of my students from my special needs Sunday School class attended as guests in my community which made me a popular dance partner.
NTS is the most pro-life, life-affirming event you can imagine. I highly encourage any of you that have an interest, to see if there is an event in your community and to volunteer your time next year. Volunteers do everything from decorating to parking lot security, to manning the food tables, to passing out swag bags at the end of the night, to dancing with the guests.
If you want to help, there is a place for your energy. NTS 2020 will be in February. Hope to see you there!