Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer

The Tim Tebow Foundation has one goal: “To bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”

Cartoogechaye Baptist Church will be partnering with the Tim Tebow Foundation for the first time this year to host a “Night to Shine” event in Macon County. The annual “Night to Shine” gives people with special needs over the age of 14 an opportunity to have an “unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love.”

Next month, on Feb. 9, more than 500 churches from around the world will create a very special prom night.

According to the Tim Tebow Foundation, approximately 90,000 guests attend “Night to Shine” in more than eight countries with the help of 175,000 volunteers.

The inaugural Franklin event is expected to draw 100 guests, according to event organizer Carolanne Elliott. Elliott has been spearheading the event for Cartoogechaye Baptist Church after bringing the idea to the church’s pastor.

“I watched a video about it back in the summer and our preacher, Brian Southard and another member Tim Brackett had also watched the video,” said Elliott. “I have worked in the special needs area in the school system for about 13 years and I am also the youth director at our church. We have a few special needs students in our youth group and Tim Brackett has a son with special needs. We thought it would be a wonderful thing to host this event.”

Night to Shine events were started by the Tim Tebow Foundation in 2015, but the February 2018 event will mark the first event of its kind in Macon County. Anyone over the age 14 with special needs are invited to attend.

“The event will be held at the Bloemsma Barn located in Patton Valley,” said Elliott. “It is Feb. 9 from 6  to 9 p.m.  We are still in need of prom accessories, dresses and any other donation anyone would like to contribute. Also anyone that would like to volunteer can do so. They will need to fill out a volunteer form and undergo a background check. Now that we have been chosen, we will be able to host this every year.”

The community has donated prom dresses and men’s attire to fully outfit the prom go-ers, who will be giving the star treatment as they walk down the red carpet into the event.

“We are planning to have 100 guests,” said Elliott. “Each guest will have a ‘buddy’ that will be with them throughout the night. When they arrive there will be a red carpet rolled out for them and each guest will be crowned king and queen of the prom. This event is centered on God’s love for people with special needs and a night to celebrate them.”

Cartoogechaye Baptist Church is still in need of larger sizes dresses, which can be dropped off at the church. Anyone that wants to donate can call Elliot at 828-200-5934 or Becky Dewitt at 828-421-2937.