Local Volunteers Create a Magical Prom Experience for Youth with Special Needs
For the past four years, members of The Well Community Church, Rockpointe Church, Argyle High School and community volunteers have provided a Night to Shine for local youth with special needs. Plans currently are underway for another unforgettable evening in February at Argyle High School.
“Night to Shine is a fantastic evening that shows Christ’s love to the special needs community,” says event coordinator Daphne Arrington. “It is a night to celebrate, show love, acceptance and allow the attendees to be treated as queens and kings.”
Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, Night to Shine offers a perfect prom experience for those with special needs ages 14 and older. Guests arrive by limousine and enter the complimentary event on a red carpet surrounded by friends, family, and, of course, “paparazzi.” Inside the event, each guest experiences the royal treatment, including hair and makeup services, shoe shines, corsages and boutonnieres, a catered dinner, karaoke, prom favors and dancing. And, deservedly, each guest is crowned king or queen of the prom at the end of the evening.
“The guests have had remarkable responses to the evening,” Daphne says. “Many sent cards of gratitude to all who served for making them feel so special.”
The Tim Tebow Foundation provides each host church an official Night to Shine planning manual and prom kit, complete with decorations and gifts for the guests. But event organizers also depend on the community’s kindness and generosity in order to host the growing event.
“Each year the event has grown from our first year of 31 honored guests to last year’s 98 honored guests,” Daphne says. “We desire this event to grow and reach far and wide, so any donations are greatly appreciated.”
Volunteers also are needed. It truly takes a village to create such a magical evening, Daphne says. And the volunteers enjoy it as much as the attendees.
“We have had outstanding participation over the years. Last year we had more than 270 volunteers. I have discovered that people love serving others, so the volunteers truly immerse themselves in ensuring our honored guests have the time of their lives,” she says.
“Many of those volunteers are high school students who make the night magical as they are partnered up with their ‘buddy,’ host them, eat with them and then dance the night away, says Dr. Matthew Harding, pastor of the Well Community Church. Watching these high school students serve selflessly those in the special needs community is awe-inspiring. Their leadership and compassion give me so much hope for the future of our community, and by extension, our country. It is evident that Argyle parents are investing into their students, and nights like these, it shows spectacularly.”
Daphne says the event is much more than just a prom night. It is meaningful to all who participate.
“When you serve others and fulfill Jesus’ calling, the heart feels joy above explanation,” she says. “A Night to Shine means to me bringing joy, hope and purpose to others. Sharing, being selfless, watching others come together and use their talents for purpose, have joy and fulfill a deep calling to serve. It means bringing light to a darkened and dim world.”
Daphne says she is proud of the work her church and the community is doing to provide such a meaningful experience to others.
“The Well Community Church teaches us to get out in our community and love on people, show up and be available,” she says. “I have never been so proud as I am of watching a community doing what God calls us to do: to serve and love one another.”
A Night to Shine’s organizers are in the process of planning the next event, which will be held from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, at The Well Community Church. Those wishing to volunteer or donate to the event may contact Daphne Arrington at email@example.com or Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about A Night to Shine and the Tim Tebow Foundation, visit TimTebowFoundation.org.