Photos by Stacy Harrison
MANCHESTER, NH — Tim Tebow’s ‘Night to Shine’ held Friday night at Manchester Christian Church was a tremendous success amidst the icy, snowy, cold conditions.
Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, the annual event is an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs ages 14 and older. Night to Shine celebrated its sixth anniversary Friday during which 721 churches from around the world simultaneously hosted a special prom night for approximately 115,000 honored guests through the support of 215,000 volunteers, including Orchard Christian Fellowship of Londonderry.
Manchester Christian Church graciously provided their spacious church to Orchard Christian Fellowship for the event, a perfect fit for the gala which was decked out perfectly by volunteers with shimmering walls and lots of blue and white balloons.
Attendees were able to dance in one room, eat dinner in another, and get away to a quieter place called a Sensory Room to take a break if needed. Parents and caregivers were able to stay on sight as well while enjoying a relaxing evening in the Respite Room where they could sit and spend time in the company of other parents and caregivers. A meal was provided for them while their loved ones were given an opportunity to enjoy the prom.
“It is one of the most heartwarming events I’ve ever been to,” Cobb said. “The joy, smiles, eagerness, buildup and getting to know the guests is just wonderful.”
In all there were 150 guests and buddies, and nearly 270 volunteers in attendance. But it was no overnight success — the event started almost a year ago with a “how-to” kit and a grant from the Tim Tebow Foundation to help defray costs.
In addition to the foundation grant, fundraising begins the year before to provide the best night possible for all attendees.
“We do a shopping event in January where they can pick out dresses and suits for free and that is just the best. The guests are excited and helping them pick out dresses and suits is filled with endless joy,” said Nicole Cobb, Coordinator of Guests for the event. Make-Over Ministry, an outreach program of Orchard Christian Fellowship, helps by providing clothes racks, hangers, and even donations of jewelry that the attendees can choose from. Donations for dresses, suits, shoes, and accessories were collected well into December of 2019 in preparation for the January 11 shopping spree, where guests and volunteers were able to shop for free for their Night to Shine attire.
For every guest who attends Night to Shine, a volunteer buddy was there to make their night special. Instruction labels were given to each volunteer with their partners’ names, age, special needs and care instructions included.
While organized by The Orchard’s staff and many volunteers, the event relies as well on the many discounts or donations and services provided by local businesses. Every guest received a boutonniere or corsage from Willows Florist upon arrival. Stylists, from Great Clips, provided hair and make-up for the attendees and there was even a shoe-shine setup provided. Guests and their buddies enjoyed a buffet-style dinner provided by McNulty & Foley Catering.
Thanks to Special Events of N.E., on their way to the dancefloor, they got to walk the red carpet while volunteers shook pom-poms and cheered for them. Guests danced the night away to the fun music provided by DJ Chris Renn. When they wanted to take a break from dancing they could take a limousine ride provided by Black Tie Limousine. Michelle Kamerman of Evertrue Studios and Doug Rathburn of Doug Rathburn Photography captured memories all night long. “Seeing them arrive all dolled up is so fun and amazing!” Cobb said.
Guests took a break from the dancing, selfie-taking and socializing with their friends to turn to the large screen TV screens to hear a heartwarming talk given by Tim Tebow. In conclusion, Tim Tebow declared each one “the queen or king of the prom” while volunteers handed out crowns and tiaras to everyone.
Discounts, donations, and services for A Night To Shine were provided by:
- Baked, Brewed and Organically Moo’d
- Black Tie Limousine, Inc.
- Doug Rathburn Photography
- Ever True Studios
- Great Clips
- McNulty & Foley Catering
- Manchester Christian Church
- MC Renn Entertainment
- Special Events of New England
- Super Wok
- Willows Florist