Each February, the Tim Tebow Foundation sponsors a Night to Shine—a prom-like social event for individuals with disabilities ages 14 and older. The event features dancing, a photo booth, karaoke, dinner, and more. Guests are paired up with a volunteer buddy at the event who makes sure they have a good experience. Each guest receives a corsage or boutonniere when they arrive. At the end of the evening, all the guests are crowned Queen/King of the night. Several people participating in the Supported Living program chose to attend the event this year—some for the first time.
This Donna’s first time attending. “Donna was laughing the entire night and continued to talk to other event-goers,” said Hadyn Bailey, a Supported Living site supervisor. “She made friends with lots of people and seemed to especially enjoy her tiara. At the end of the evening, Donna did not want to leave.”
The hosting church helps coordinate volunteers and handles all the decorations and preparations for the big night. Volunteers assist with everything from helping guests select prom attire, to hair, make-up, and shoe shines the night of the event. Each event site typically has up to 200 volunteers assisting.
Holly Estrem, a support coordinator at BCFR, volunteered her time to be a “buddy” at the event held in Columbia. “It was a nice event. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. There was a lot for guests to see and do and experience.”
Grea, like Donna, also attended Night to Shine this year for the first time. “I liked the dance. I liked the building. I want to go again,” she said. “My favorite part was the dancing. I wore a dress. A sparkling dress.”
“I was glad to go. I really liked the prom,” said Mike who is a Night to Shine veteran and enjoys attending the event. “I liked seeing my friends and having dinner with friends. I made a new friend, Jessica. Lisa (his partnered buddy) and I had a great time with friends and the dance. I got a corsage. My favorite part was dancing with girls and making new friends like Lisa and Jessica.”
Everyone who attended from Supported Living had a fun evening and many said they plan to attend again next year. Ahshaneque Johnson, a BCFR direct support professional, attended the event with Donna and said the event was very well put together with “extravagant decorations, booths, and
more activities than expected.”
“This is absolutely an event we will recommend in the future to persons served—especially those who have not attended before,” said Hadyn. “Everyone who attended really enjoyed themselves.”