Story by Michaela Freeman | Staff Writer, Video by Christina Soto | Broadcast Managing Editor
Central Texas Helping Hands (CTHH) hosted their first local Night to Shine Prom event at 7 p.m. Friday at Crestview Church of Christ. The Tim Tebow Foundation created the event in honor for those of special needs. The nationally known event occurs in major cities all over the world. The event was held in all 50 states and in 16 different countries on Feb. 9.
The prom experience allowed those with special needs to have an unforgettable night full of karaoke, dancing and food.
“Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older. On one night, February 9, 2018, more than 540 churches from around the world will come together to host Night to Shine for approximately 90,000 honored guests through support of 175,000 volunteers!” according to the Tim Tebow Foundation’s website.
Tebow posted a video on Facebook Friday about his excitement and feelings toward the event.
“We get to celebrate a lot of people with special needs and hopefully change a lot of lives,” Tebow said.
The Waco event also had a photobooth and an eccentric atmosphere with dancing and music. The night began with a limo entrance for attendees and their guests followed by a red carpet.
Each special needs guest was honored as “kings” and “queens” and were treated like royalty the entire night.
The night also made the parents of the attendees thankful and happy that the event established a safe and fun environment for their children.
Mother and daughter duo from Belton Quinn Tanner and her daughter Bri Tanner attended the Night to Shine Prom. The event gave the Tanners an opportunity to have fun and be themselves in such a welcoming environment.
“This event is a blessing tonight,” Quinn Tanner said. “For something like this to be available — it’s a big lesson for us.”
Ramstein, Germany sophomore Emma Kieninger also attended the event with her friend and honored guest Faith Langhorn, who has been an active member of First Woodway Baptist Church since her move from California three months ago.
The Baylor sophomore is also a member of First Woodway Baptist Church and has been volunteering with Langhorn since her arrival to Waco. Langhorn was thrilled to have her friend dance with her at prom and is grateful to have met Kieninger at First Woodway Baptist Church.
“We connected automatically,” Langhorn said. “It’s been really fun.”
Over 300 volunteers showed helping hands at the Waco Night to Shine, and the event meant something different to each volunteer.
West volunteer Jari Parker was grateful to be a part of the prom night experience. Parker, a member of Crestview Church of Christ, was happy to be giving back and be apart of the spirit that the church offered Friday night.
“I’m bringing joy to individuals who were given this opportunity and it lightens up my heart and to see them happy makes me happy,” Parker said.