TROY — A fancy evening of fashion, food, and fun was served to hundreds of honored guests during Friday’s “Night to Shine,” a special celebration sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.
The event, held at the Crystal Room in Troy, was held by Troy Christian Church, and ran in conjunction with over 650 other churches across 50 states and 20 countries. This year’s “Night to Shine” marks the fifth consecutive year for the event worldwide, and the third year hosted by Troy Christian Church.
All people with special needs, ages 14 and older, were eligible to come and participate in the promenade.
According to Ken Kessler, chairman of the board of elders at Troy Christian Church, the event attracted over 150 registered special-needs guests, and recruited the help of over 300 volunteers.
“For our special guests, this is an opportunity for them to experience a prom night that typically they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience in their lifetime,” Kessler said. “It’s a special evening to let them know that we as a community love them as they are. For all of our volunteers that participate, they get the benefit of seeing our special guests light up with the enjoyment of the evening.”
After initial registrations, Night to Shine’s special guests were adorned with a crown or tiara, and were invited to walk the red carpet into the main event. All in attendance indulged in a full three-course meal, and enjoyed a dance floor with a disc jockey, a karaoke stage, a photo booth area with props and costumes, and complimentary limousine and party bus rides through downtown Troy.
“We are fortunate enough to have funding that comes from various foundations within our community, and also sponsorships from businesses that have heard about the event,” Kessler said. “Our church is contributing to support this as well.”
“I just think it’s a great way to share joy,” said volunteer Maiya Dilbone. “It’s fun for everyone. You can just be yourself and enjoy the night.”
“I have a really big passion for volunteering in the disability ministry,” said volunteer Victoria Glover. “I’m actually going to Camp Barnabas in Missouri this summer to serve more in the ministry, and I’m super excited.”
“I’m volunteering, because tonight is a time to show that these people are a lot more special than we give them credit for, and that they do a lot more for us than we usually recognize,” said volunteer Nelson Lair. “Tonight’s a great opportunity to give back to them.”
Night to Shine now attracts over 90,000 participants and over 175,000 volunteers every year. The Tim Tebow Foundation’s mission is “to bring faith, hope, and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”
For more information, visit www.timtebowfoundation.com.