Everyone deserves their moment, their “night to shine.”

This is the whole idea in a nutshell behind the Night to Shine community prom event slated for Feb. 7 at Calvary Boise.

Started by the Tim Tebow Foundation six years ago, the now global event is a complimentary experience “centered on God’s love” created for people with special needs ages 14 and older.

For that one night, they are treated as kings and queens — with limousine arrivals and a rolled out red-carpet welcome complete with an adoring, cheering crowd and a twinkling of paparazzi camera flashes.

Inside, they are coiffed and powdered, gowned and suited up for the evening that is sure to make memories. And, as is prom tradition, they will all receive corsages and boutonnieres. In addition, they will be feted with a catered dinner, serenaded by karaoke, and there will be prom favors — and of course, dancing. The pinnacle of the night: each guest is crowned prom king or queen.

This is the second “Night to Shine” for Calvary Boise. Danielle Davis, events coordinator for Calvary Boise, said the idea was presented to the church last year by a few moms with special needs kids. They had their first NtS in February 2019.

This year, Davis, along with volunteers from the Treasure Valley and even reaching as far as Twin Falls and Baker City, Oregon, are working to coordinate the 2020 event. It’s an amazing and far-reaching community event, Davis said, adding that it all means so much, it’s hard to put into words.

“It’s not just a dance, it’s not just a prom — it’s a night where people get to understand their worth,” Davis said. “They get to understand that God loves them, that God has a plan for their life and they are worth it.

“They are worth us throwing this big party for them.”

A Night to Shine started out in 2015 with just 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers crowning about 7,000 prom kings and queens — and it has grown exponentially.

In 2019, the event was hosted by 655 churches with 200,000 volunteers helping to celebrate 100,000 kings and queens of the prom with special needs. This year, there will be about 800 Night to Shine events worldwide, all scheduled to take place on Feb. 7.

“Every town, every village, every state, every country needs a Night to Shine for their special needs community,” Tebow said in a press release about the event, “a chance to be a part of something significant and life-changing … and to be blessed in the process.”

The events, which are offered free of charge for all of the special needs guests, are made possible in part by the Tim Tebow Foundation, which sponsors and financially supports them. Each host church is given an official 2020 Night to Shine Planning Manual and personalized guidance and support, including access to free and discounted resources to help create “an unforgettable night” for their guests. The foundation has committed nearly $3.5 million to hundreds of churches needing assistance in hosting the event.

Jeanne Huff is the community engagement editor for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at 208-465-8106 and follow her on Twitter @goodnewsgirl.

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