Christ Presbyterian Church of Ormond Beach hosted its third-annual Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, on Friday, Feb. 9.
A night of royal treatment began with an escorted walk down the red carpet for 180 locals with special needs, as hundreds of volunteers applauded and high-fived the honored guests.
Church Presbyterian Church in Ormond Beach hosted its third-annual Night to Shine at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on Friday, Feb. 9. The event is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation and gives people with special needs the chance to have a prom night they’ll never forget.
Embry-Riddle cheerleaders and Navy ROTC students escorted the VIPs of the night down the red carpet before they enjoyed dancing, caricatures, limo rides, karaoke and dinner with friends.
Port Orange resident Courtney Widdison got the surprise of her life last year when Tim Tebow walked her down the red carpet at the prom at Embry-Riddle. She said she still loved this year’s event, despite missing her favorite escort.
“I want to take him on a dinner date sometime,” she said with a laugh.
Courtney’s family rallied around her at the prom as she danced, socialized and rode in a limo around campus.
“To see the smiles on the kids’ faces just makes it amazing,” said Katie Widdison, who came to support Courtney. “This is their night.”
The night makes an impact on the guests, as well as their families. Jan Brock, one of the event coordinators with Christ Presbyterian Church, was excited to watch her 18-year-old daughter, Casey Brock, walk down the red carpet.
“It’s just a special event for the special needs community,” Jan Brock said. “A lot of these people — I know my daughter — wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend a prom, and so it’s very heartwarming to see this community come together, and the church, to support something like this.”
Brock said she loves seeing the joy in Casey’s eyes during the event.
“I don’t know a lot of them personally, but you can almost see them come out of their shells,” Brock said. “They’re high-fiving people, and they’re yelling. I just spoke to a young man inside and said, ‘You sure do look handsome tonight.’ And he said, ‘I know I do.’ So, it’s just a big self-esteem booster.”
Kacie Fuller, the director of children and youth at Christ Presbyterian Church, said that the church hosted a “glitter boutique” the week before the prom where about 70 VIPs came to pick out donated dresses, tuxes and accessories.
“It’s one of my favorite nights of the year,” Fuller said. “It’s just so special that everybody can be honored in this way, that all of our special needs folks can be honored and loved.”
This year, about 90,000 honored guests were celebrated at Night to Shine proms hosted by over 530 churches in 50 states and 16 countries, according to TimTebowFoundation.org. Tim Tebow made a surprise visit to a Night to Shine in Peru.