A celebration of inclusion and joy was held Friday as the Tallahassee community came together for the 10th annual Night to Shine prom, a tailored event for individuals with special needs.
Night to Shine is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, which offers a night full of glamour, friendships and cherished memories for individuals with special needs and disabilities ages 14 and up. This event takes place on a February Friday night every year where churches and organizations provide host locations. This year the event took place at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum.
Night to Shine is a free event for all guests and their parents. The online registration began on Dec. 2 and closed on Feb. 2.
During this night, guests were given the full VIP treatment. It started with them being greeted with paparazzi on a red-carpet entrance. This was followed by a catered dinner, dancing, and many activities such as photo booth pictures, make up stations and more.
As the guests were the stars of the night, volunteers played a very important role as they served as “buddies” for the attendees. These buddies are companions that ensure that their guests have a comfortable and memorable night, and with the help and support of more than 1,000 volunteers, this night surely was.
The Genesis Church website says that in order to be a volunteer you must be at least 16 years old, while buddies are required to be at least 18 years old. For those who wished to be a volunteer this year but were unable to, they were given the opportunity to still contribute to the event by offering $20 to sponsor a guest, which would cover the cost of their Night to Shine experience gift kit. This included a crown/tiara, corsage/boutonniere and gifts.
Night to Shine is not just a local event in Tallahassee, but an event that’s celebrated nationwide by communities from all over to come together to create a remarkable night.
Scott Hunter, president of Shine Tallahassee and pastor of Genesis Church, said that Tallahassee “has to be one of the most compassionate and generous communities in the country.” He added that another Night for Shine prom is in the works and will automatically get people involved according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
The Shine Tallahassee website states that this event was produced 100% through the partnership of Genesis Church and Shine Tallahassee. With the support of other diamond, platinum, gold, silver, bronze, friends, and performing arts sponsors, this night was made possible.