DEMOTTE — Friday night was truly a “Night to Shine” for some very deserving people as volunteers at Grace Fellowship Church in DeMotte joined the Tim Tebow Foundation by hosting a prom night for persons with special needs ages 14 and up. Through the foundation, the church had to comply with a number of guidelines including a sensory room, karaoke room, a respite room for caregivers and room to dance the night away.
Friday’s was the first “Night to Shine” at Grace and there were 84 people registered, and a few attended who were not. Each person had to have a “buddy,” whether a caregiver, family member, friend or a volunteer from the church.
A committee has been working on the planning of this special night for nearly a year. The first step was to apply to be a host church, and although the committee could have applied for a grant to help pay for the evening, they chose to collect the funds from the community instead.
“The community has supported us in so many ways,” said Alecia Klauer, one of the organizers.
All of the guests were invited to take a ride in a limo, each one received a crown, a corsage or boutonniere and a meal, as well as a chance to dress up and have some fun.
The karaoke room was a popular place for those who wanted to watch and those who wanted to sing. The caregivers were given a chance to relax in a separate room, with their own buffet table and even a massage and some pampering.
Guests could stop in to get their hair and make up applied before the prom and also a shoeshine, all free of charge, as was the whole evening.
Before entering the prom, guests waited to walk the “red carpet” while volunteers cheered them on the way. Then they stopped for a picture in front of a “Night to Shine” backdrop from the foundation with a dapper tuxedoed gentleman who greeted each person who came to the prom.
Lines formed for the limo rides and despite the chill air, all seemed to enjoy their special ride before entering the prom like princes and princesses.
At the end of the evening, a simulcast video was played with Tim Tebow announcing all of the guests as the kings and queens of the prom. All across the country, people with special needs were being feted and entertained by the Tim Tebow Foundation. Guests at the DeMotte Night to Shine came from as far away as Monticello and even one young man from Indianapolis, who came to escort his girlfriend to the prom.
With over 100 volunteers helping in a variety of ways, the first Night to Shine in DeMotte was a success.