Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer
The fifth annual “Night to Shine” event will be held at Bloemsma Barn in Franklin, on Friday, Feb. 8. This event, sponsored by 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 hosting the event for the second year in a row. In 2015, the first ‘Night to Shine” was held in 44 churches in 26 states and three countries and 15,000 volunteers came together to honor the 7,000 guests.
Last year, more than 537 churches hosted the event nationwide in 16 countries with 175,000 volunteers to serve and celebrate 90,000 honored guests with special needs. This year 655 churches from around the world will celebrate its fifth anniversary honoring 100,000 guests with the support of 200,000 volunteers.
Tim Tebow Foundation
Tim Tebow spent his early years in the Philippines where his parents were missionaries. At age 15 Tebow visited a remote village that had never seen visitors. That is where Tebow met a boy named Sherwin who was born with his feet on backwards and was viewed as “cursed” by the villagers. When the villagers saw Tim hold Sherwin, they realized that the “good news” of Jesus Christ applies to everyone. At that point, his passion to help people grew and in 2010 he started the Tim Tebow Foundation. This foundation has many facets and the Night to Shine is one. It was launched in 2014 with a simple vision: work with churches around the country to provide an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love for people with special needs, ages 14 an older.
How the Night to Shine program works
Local churches apply to be sponsors for the Night to Shine Event. The foundation provides host churches with an official planning manual, personalized guidance and mentorship from a Tim Tebow Foundation staff member along with an official Night to Shine Prom Kit. The prom kit includes drawstring backpacks for honored guests. Decorations include a background for event photography, a welcome banner and a Night to Shine Table Runner. Each church holds a prom fitting for all the guests. Participants are able to choose prom dresses, tuxedos, shoes, and accessories, all for free through donations from the community. The local city barber donates haircuts for participating guests. The event is professionally catered and a professional photographer also donates their time. Although the foundation offers grants to churches based on need, donations are still very much appreciated. Contact Cartoogechaye Baptist Church at (828) 524-6557 for more information on how to donate.
On prom night, guests are chauffeured to Bloemsma Barn, where the event will take place. The red carpet is rolled out for honored guests 14 years or older, and each participant is crowned King and Queen. The dance hall is decorated and this year, Mountain Faith Band along with DJ Tony Curtis, will be performing. A fun filled night of dinner and dancing along with Karaoke ensues and each King and Queen is shown that they are not only loved by God but honored by their community.