The Norwalk church will serve as one of 600-plus churches around the world already registered to host Night to Shine 2020, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. For people with special needs ages 14 and older, the prom-night experience will happen across the globe simultaneously Feb. 7.
The worldwide Night to Shine movement unites churches of different denominations all over the world with the common goal of celebrating people with special needs, according to the Tim Tebow Foundation.
Every guest enters the complimentary event on a red carpet, complete with a warm welcome from a friendly crowd and paparazzi. Once inside, guests receive the royal treatment, including hair and makeup stations, shoe-shining areas, limousine rides, corsages and boutonnieres, a catered dinner, karaoke, prom favors and a dance floor. It all leads up to the moment when each guest is crowned king or queen of the prom.
“It is awe inspiring to see how God is using the church globally to stand up and advocate for people with special needs. I truly believe that the world is coming together through Night to Shine to celebrate the love that God has for us. Every town, every village, every state, every country needs a Night to Shine for their special needs community — a chance to be a part of something significant and life-changing — and to be blessed in the process,” Tebow said.
As sponsor of Night to Shine, the Tim Tebow Foundation will provide each host church with the official planning manual, personalized guidance and support from foundation staff member and access to free and discounted resources. The foundation also has committed nearly $3.5 million in financial support to hundreds of churches needing assistance in hosting the event.
Before the most recent event started at First United Methodist, each attendee received a pre-dance pampering party where volunteers put on makeup and shined their shoes. Volunteers made sure all the guests were feeling their best before their ride in custom limos.
Each limo was escorted by a police cruiser around the city before being dropped off at a red carpet, complete with fans and cameras on each side. While each limo pulled up, host David Wallace announced each attendee, along with his or her escort. After that, the special guests were treated with specialized meals from Fisher-Titus Medical Center and homemade meatloaf from the church.
Night to Shine is now in its sixth year of existence. The event launched in 2015 with 44 host churches and about 15,000 volunteers honoring more than 7,000 prom kings and queens. In 2018, there were 655 host churches and 200,000 volunteers who celebrated nearly 100,000 honored guests with special needs.
For additional information on the Night to Shine hosted by First United Methodist, visit www.norwalkfirstumc.com.