In 2014, Tim Tebow and the Tim Tebow Foundation launched the “Night to Shine” program. The goal was to engage local churches into creating a unique experience for teens with special needs. Special needs teens, 14 years of age and older, were invited to attend a prom night just for them.
Through the work of the churches, the Tim Tebow Foundation, and many volunteers, the concept has taken hold and has become an annual event in many areas of the world. In its first year, Night to Shine proms were held in 26 states and 3 different countries. 44 churches played host to the prom attendees. Over 7,000 teens were in attendance with over 15,000 volunteers working to make it all possible.
In 2018, over 537 churches in 16 countries and 49 states were involved. This time the numbers had skyrocketed to 150,000 volunteers and 90,000 teens in attendance. The Tim Tebow Foundation offers each church selected to host a Night to Shine event all of the materials they need to make their event a success, including a red carpet and all of the trappings for the Prom King and Queen. There will also be carriage rides for the participants as well.
On February 8th, 2019, First Baptist Church located at 200 W. Central Avenue in downtown Valdosta will be hosting their 3rd annual Night to Shine event. The church has hosted the event for the past three years with the help of numerous volunteers and donations made through a variety of companies. On January 12, 2019, Chik-fil-a donated 10% of every order they received to the Night to Shine event. All the customer had to do was mention the First Baptist Church Night to Shine event.
Erica Stone explained, “We can always use donations, especially prom attire like shoes, ties, shirts, and dresses. If anyone has anything they want to donate, they can drop it off at the church, any of the Wiregrass Campuses and Anthony’s on Baytree.” All of the attendees are encouraged to dress up in their most formal attire and prepare to have an unforgettable time.
Wiregrass also holds an annual Tiaras and Ties events so that attendees can pick out the attire they want to wear to the event. They will be collecting clothing donations at all four local campuses until January 25th. The Repeat Boutique has already made a large donation to the Valdosta Tiaras and Ties chapter to ensure that all attendees can be dressed to the nines for the event.
When it comes to donations, Ms. Stone said they were also in need of “buddies”. She said, “A buddy is someone who is paired with one of the teens in the hopes of making sure they have the best time possible.” The buddy offers encouragement and makes sure the teen feels included in the festivities. First Baptist Church provides refreshments and gifts for each of the attendees.
If you have a clothing donation or would like to be a “buddy” the night of the prom, you can contact the First Baptist Church here, at their Facebook page or call 229-242-0484.
For more information, see their Facebook page.