A few weeks ago, Shoreland Lutheran High School partnered with the Tim Tebow Foundation in order to put on a very special event called Night to Shine. This event was geared for teenagers and adults with special needs to give them the experience of a prom with extra accomodations.
Hours and hours of volunteer time were logged to prepare for this event. While last minutes adjustments were made, you could feel the nervous energy in the room. The picture above shows the room full of the Shoreland student volunteers who were waiting for the evening to begin.
Once they arrived, guests were warmly greeted and sent off to hair and make-up for touch-ups.
Guests could take advantage of the special shoe shine station before they went on to formal portraits.
A printer was on site so that the guests could leave with their portrait at the end of the evening.
Folks headed to the back of the school for complimentary limousine rides. Student volunteers helped the guests in the limo, and then raced to the front of the school so that their wheelchairs or walkers would be ready for them when they got dropped off.
Once guests were ready to enter the gym, the red carpet was rolled out for them.
They were announced by name, along with the guest’s preference of receiving loud cheering and clapping, soft clapping, or silent hand waving. It was a very thoughtful gesture in order to make sure that the guests felt welcomed and not overwhelmed. A photobooth was set up in the gym, along with a buffet of snacks. Old friends were greeted warmly, and many new friends were made.
And folks communicated with each other in a variety of ways.
Although not pictured here, accomodations were made for those parents and caregivers who wanted to stay, and a special sensory room was set up for those guests who needed some quiet time. Midway through the night, each guest was crowned. Some guests never left the dance floor. Karaoke was set up in another room and many pored over the song lists.
It was certainly an evening to remember. While the event was intended as a celebratory event for the special needs community, I’d argue that it may have been the student and adult volunteers who benefitted the most.
It is one thing to understand the need for kindness and compassion. It is quite another to put that love into action.