Night to Shine set for Friday

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


In what may be the first of many of the events,Washington is scheduled to join with about 450 churches throughout the world Friday as it hosts the Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.

According to a news release, 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. ?We have limo rides that are going to happen thanks to Mark Beatty and Marty Beenblossom,? organizer Ann WIlliams said. ?We have hair and touch-up that will be done by some of our local hair stylists. We have shoe shines by Craig Paul. We have a lot going on. We have face painting and balloon artists.?

Williams said that so far 90 guests have signed up to attend the event. People wishing to sign up can do so by contacting Williams at 319-461-2511, contacting a local agency such as WCDC or Optimae, or going online to the Washington Night to Shine Facebook page. Williams said no one wishing to attend the event would be turned away.

She also said there are plenty of volunteers. She expects close to 300 people total. Guests are scheudled to start arriving at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Every guest of Night to Shine enters the event on a red carpet complete with a warm welcome from a friendly crowd and ?paparazzi.?

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. 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.

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.?