Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, is a prom experience centered on God’s love for people with special needs aged 14 and over.
On February 11, 2022, the eighth annual event will bring together thousands of people from around the world to honor people with disabilities.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the safety of every guest of honor as a top priority, for the second year in a row, Night to Shine will be a global Shine-Thru parade and virtual celebration.
It’s a driving adaptation where customers can enjoy many of their favorite Night to Shine elements from their vehicle. A walk on the red carpet, cheering paparazzi, photography opportunities, music, dancing, decorations and special guests or characters are just a few of the ways the guests will be celebrated.
Next year, a local church will be a welcoming site.
Melanie O’Neal, who attends Seymour Christian Church and is the planning coordinator for the Jackson County Arc and executive director of Mental Health America of Jackson County, said that once she had heard of Night to Shine, she wanted to go through the process to bring it’s here.
She named the church and submitted the nomination and recently learned that SCC had been chosen and that a grant from the Tim Tebow Foundation will be awarded to help organize the event, which will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the 11th. February.
Matthew Hanks, a student pastor at CSC, said his home church in Oregon hosted the event several times, but never attended until he was in college.
“The single impact on everyone involved, not just people with special needs, but also those who partner with them, friends, parents, family members, is incredible to see in the community,” did he declare. “I think that’s one of the reasons we want to do it, is because this impact could really take effect here in Jackson County and just change the way this county views people in need. specials. “
Although she is discouraged it cannot be an in-person event, O’Neal said people with special needs would be very, very excited to attend.
“This is for people who can’t participate in regular social environments or regular proms,” she said. “The goal is for the participants to feel special that night. “
Once entered the church parking lot in a vehicle, participants will walk through or “shine”.
“It’s basically like a ride on the red carpet,” Hanks said. “There are going to be people to encourage them. There will be opportunities for photography, music, dancing, lights, decorations, special guests or characters. We might have people who will dress with something, just make it extra special. “
Whether they choose to dress like they would at a prom or just wear comfortable, casual clothes, it doesn’t matter.
“We want them to dress the way they would feel the most special,” Hanks said. “If someone feels the best and the most comfortable wearing sweatpants, we’re not going to force them to wear a suit. If they want to do it, then we want to encourage them to do it because it’s their night. Everything revolves around them.
When leaving the car park, participants will receive a boxed meal and a backpack slung.
Once they get home, they can visit a link on the Tim Tebow Foundation website, where Tebow, a former professional football and baseball player who is now a sports broadcaster, will deliver a message to attendees and officially crown them King. and prom queen. .
O’Neal said there is no limit to the number of participants and there is no charge to participate, but people must register online at seymourchristian.com/nighttoshine so that ‘she knows how many meals and backpacks to order.
Also at this link, people can register to volunteer at the event. O’Neal said all volunteers must complete a background check and will also be required to wear a mask during the event.
O’Neal and Hanks are part of a committee planning the event. This includes church members, community members who are interested in people with special needs, and members of the Arc board of directors.
One of the goals of the Tim Tebow Foundation and Night to Shine host sites is that it’s not just an overnight event, it’s about inviting people with special needs. to church and build relationships.
“So it’s not just an overnight welcome from Seymour Christian Church. This is if you are looking for your own church, if you don’t feel comfortable or felt welcome in other churches, we want to open and extend this invitation to people here at church. Christian from Seymour so that they feel comfortable coming here, ”said O’Neal. “We have disabled members. It is important for us not only to provide for themselves, but also for other members of the community.