Teens and adults with special needs to be treated to ‘prom’

By Nancy Price

More than 300 guests will be crowned king or queen at a special prom night held this Friday, Feb. 8, at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood.

The third annual Night to Shine event, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, treats more than 100,000 teens over the age of 14 and adults with special needs around the world to an unforgettable prom experience.

After arriving at the church via limousine, guests will be welcomed by photographers and friendly “paparazzi” before being sent to a hair and makeup station for a night of a catered meal, prom favors, dancing and karaoke. Each guest will be crowned king or queen.

“It’s hard to put into words the reactions of our honored guests. Some are so overjoyed with emotion that they are smiling ear-to-ear on the red carpet,” said Johnette Cruz, communications director at Mount Pleasant Christian Church. “Others who have disabilities that hinder their communication have the sweetest look on their face. You can always tell in their eyes how special they feel just by glancing at them.”

Mount Pleasant will join more than 655 churches from all 50 states in the nation and around the world with the annual event. Approximately 900 volunteers at the church alone will be assisting prom guests, from welcoming and checking people in to washing dishes and bussing tables.

Guests at the third annual Night to Shine event will be treated to a catered meal. (Photo by Hannah De Kam of De Kam Studios.)

“We are always so overwhelmed by the number of people willing to give up their day and evening to be a part of such a life-giving event,” Cruz said. “Most of us volunteering and working the event are essentially crying the whole evening. The blessing really comes from us! This prom puts life into perspective, and to be able to show the love of Christ to others is just beyond rewarding. It really is an honor. We love being able to provide engaging experiences that will have a lasting impact on the lives of others.”

Heidi Wright, a serve coordinator for Mount Pleasant, oversees Night to Shine. She said she is grateful for team of volunteers and the impact that the evening has in her life as well.

“There is something unique and special about Night to Shine,” Wright said. “There is a depth to the love that is experienced throughout this entire event, and then when the night arrives … the energy, the excitement, the genuine joy, is like none other. Our churches, our communities, our families … we are all changed for the better as we partner to love and serve the special needs community!”

For more information about Night to Shine at Mount Pleasant, go to mpcc.info/nighttoshine. For more information about the Tim Tebow Foundation, please visit timtebowfoundation.org.