Hope’s Night to Shine

nighttoshineblog

The young woman, dressed in a pink chiffon gown, stepped onto the red carpet. She eyed the long walk from the foyer to the Family Life Center and hesitated. Gathered on either side of the carpet, strangers were smiling and urging her to take another step. As she moved forward hesitantly, they cheered and waved signs that read, “You are loved” and “You are beautiful.”

Bolder, she walked to the end of that long red carpet and entered the Family Life Center- now a ballroom with blue and silver balloons and streamers floating from the ceiling. A girl slightly older than herself greeted her. She would be her special “buddy” to stay with her all evening. Soon the two of them were dancing and laughing. In her whole life, had she ever experienced such a moment? It was her Night to Shine. Thanks to the support of the Tim Tebow Foundation, Hope Church, among 655 other churches worldwide, created an unforgettable prom night for 72 people. 14 and over, with special needs. Sheer joy beamed from the faces of Hope’s prom guests as they enjoyed great food, limousine rides, karaoke and a photo booth. They danced the night away while the music played on. Upstairs, parents and caregivers enjoyed an evening of respite complete with delicious snacks and were entertained by comedian, Dan Kulp. They described the evening as “over the top” and a “gala.”

Later the buddies crowned their special guest King or Queen of the prom. Pastor Larry shared, “There is a great big God that love YOU in a big way. You are His son or daughter.” He spoke of the crown of life that never fades.

With 200 friends and volunteers from Hope Church, Dina Barnard’s dream came true. As Greece Central’s Work Based Learning Coordinator, she prepares students with special needs for employment in the community. A Tim Tebow fan, Dina knew about his Foundation’s Night to Shine, and approached the pastors for the people close to her heart. As so, wearing crowns and tiaras, sons and daughters of the King lived the dream for one magical night.