A Night to Shine is an event, started by The Tim Tebow Foundation, that provides a prom night for people with special needs. It’s for ages 14 and up, so even those as old as 70 can be included! They get to have a short ride around in a limousine and an entrance on a red carpet to be announced by a speaker. Once there, the host church provides your typical prom activities, like karaoke, dancing, and eating. You can choose to volunteer as a “buddy” for one of the participants, decorate and set up, or cheer them on as they walk in.
This year was the 6th year Night to Shine has taken place, and some of the freshman Charmers and I were honored to participate at the local Fort Smith event. Our role was to cheer on the Kings and Queens (what they’re referred to as the whole night) while they walked in with a red carpet entrance. Even though it was freezing cold, we were so excited to celebrate participants walking in!
While at Night to Shine, we even ran into a familiar face! Chaffin’s very own Ella Thompson! I got to sit with Ella and hear first-hand just how special the night is for participants. When asked what her favorite part was, she was quick to respond that it was, “the people I got to meet and the food I got to eat!” This year was Ella’s first year, after being invited by a friend. “I remember dress shopping,” she told me, “it was fun. My friend came with me and we got to pick out a dress and everything.” She explained with ease just how fun it is to participate as a King or Queen in this nation-wide event. One thing Ella loved was getting to ride in the limo. She got to ride with her “buddy,” and talk to the driver while riding around. From dress shopping, to professionally done makeup, hair, and nails, it really was a night to shine for Ella!
“When we were cheering they were super happy and it felt good because of their positive energy they gave off,” said Chaffin Charmer Mackenzie Howald, “It was just a really good experience, for them and for us.” Alli Atchley, Charmer Captain, also included that, “It was amazing to be apart of something that brought something fun and carefree to those people’s nights. I would 100% do it again, even if it was 18 degrees outside, because the experience was far better than the slight inconveniences.” Along with that, freshman Anna Claire Roberts added, “My favorite thing about Night to Shine was seeing how happy some people were. Not just the people with special needs, but everyone else, too.” From the Kings and Queens, to volunteers, everyone has a great time and makes unforgettable memories!
With the red carpet introduction, limousine ride, and all the other activities included, this night really does allow a great time for everyone. Want to volunteer at Night to Shine next year? You can visit the website for Fort Smith’s Night to Shine held at West Ark Church of Christ and, around this time next year, you can sign up there. Honoring and showing love to each King and Queen is something you’ll never forget!