By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
On Feb. 9, 2018, Washington will join more than 450 churches throughout the world as it hosts Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.
While the event began with the Washington United Methodist Church, it was quickly determined that the church was too small for the event. With a partnership with St. James Catholic Church, the event is now scheduled to be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall. At least 100 guests, each with a ?buddy? are expected for the event.
According to a news release from committee chair Ann Williams, Night to Shine is an ?unforgettable prom night experience, centered in God?s love, for people with special needs, ages 14 and older.? The event will occur simultaneously in all 50 states and 15 countries. Williams said the push to join the event began when Genie Davis, who works with special needs adults, approached her about holding Night to Shine through the Tim Tebow Foundation.
?Traditionally in Washington we have hosted a dinner for adults with disabilities,? Williams said. ?We had done that for years. Then Lori Bauer, who goes south during the winter and has for years, the church she attends there is a Night to Shine host church. She said that we needed to look into this.?
Williams submitted the application to add Washington to Night to Shine. A holdup to the approval was the United Methodist Church was changing ministers. Williams contacted the incoming minister about the event and found he had been a host to Night to Shine in the past and was ?thrilled.? The event was approved.
Every guest of Night to Shine enters the event on a red carpet complete with a warm welcome from a friendly crowd and ?paparazzi.? Once inside guests receive the royal treatment, including hair and makeup stations, shoe shining areas, limousine rides, corsages, and boutonnieres, a catered dinner, karaoke, prom favors, a respite room for parents and caretakers, and a dance floor.
When Night to Shine was launched in 2015, it had 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers, along with more than 7,000 kings and queens of the prom. In February, 2017, there were 375 host churches and 150,000 volunteers, along with 75,000 honored guests.
?Night to Shine is an incredible night ? lights, music, limos, dancing, and best of all each honored guest being crowned a king or queen of the prom,? said Erik Dellenback, executive director of the Tim Tebow Foundation. ?I love what one pastor shared with me. He said, ?We love this event because it smells like Jesus.? We continue to be amazed by how God has grown this event into a worldwide movement, celebrating people with special needs.?
Williams said the volunteers for the event will be given a background check before the event. For more information, contact Williams at 319-461-2511 or go online to the Washington Night to Shine Facebook page.