Hope entered on a red carpet. She sparkled. She danced. She hugged and high-fived. She dined. She wore a long dress and tiara and took her first chauffeured limo ride.
It was a delightful, joyful and well-executed event that our daughter and her pals thoroughly enjoyed. And, presumably, so did their buddies, caregivers and parents.
When my friend Tina told me she signed her son Brennan up for the prom a month or so ago, I’d never heard of Night To Shine, and only vaguely had a recognition of Tim Tebow. I still know almost nothing about his football career. But I like his heart. From it sprang the idea (or the recognition of a good one) to create a special prom to show God’s love for all of us human types by celebrating – in a fancy, big, loud, shiny way — those with special needs. We were in!
Beginning in 2015, The Tim Tebow Foundation offered financial support and planning ideas to churches around the country and beyond that wished to carry out a local prom. Last night there were 375 proms in 50 states and 11 countries, representing approximately 75,000 honored guests and approximately 150,000 volunteers. At the Davenport event where Hope attended, there were about 200 guests and another 200 volunteers. It was held at the Trinity Lutheran School, sprawling pretty much throughout the building. A similar event was held in nearby Bettendorf.
Since Dan and I tend to helicopter around our Hopester, we figured we’d just sign up to help out. Dan worked at the elevator to assist people with wheelchairs down the half flight of stairs to the dance floor. I worked at the registration table, where I got to see all the smiles and wide eyes as the guests, often with a family member, friend or caregiver at their sides, entered on the red carpet. We saw lots of folks we knew and met some nice people, too.
When Hope arrived, she looked beautiful! Her beloved caregiver Ashley had taken her to get her hair and makeup done as a gift from Ashley’s employer and our respite agency, Family Care Solutions. Earlier, I set out Hope’s blue satin dress and accessories and decked out her wheelchair, but left for the dance to help before they arrived back home. So it was fun to see her make a grand entrance.
Hope and Ashley and other guests were ushered to the gym and dance floor via a red carpet complete with paparazzi and introductions. After I was done registering guests, I got to mingle and watch Hope dancing with Ashley, along with friends Codie and Leeann. Each female guest wore a tiara and each guy got a crown. “I like proms,” stated Codie.
Hope and her friend Lacey had their pictures taken together and bumped into another friend Danielle waiting in line, along with some nice officers in blue. She also saw friends Brennan, Amber, Spencer, Nathan and Kyle and many others. Over in the cafeteria, there was a buffet of Chick Fil A, pizza, veggies, fruit and cupcakes. At one end of the room, there was karaoke. Our friend Selah bravely took her turn with, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” Her parents were pretty proud.
The evening went by quickly and eventually Cinderella was ready to head home. But beforehand she got a quick loop around the parking lot in a big black limo. “I’ve never done this before,” I heard her say as Ashley helped her into the back seat. On her way out of the prom, Hope was given a gift bag with a picture frame, a bracelet, a water cup, calendar and more goodies.
What a night! Enjoy the photos.
Update Feb 16: See the official Night to Shine video featuring a new song by country music superstar Gary LeVox here.
Learn more about blogger Karen Bernick here. Please feel free to share this article or others. But please use photos with permission only – just email me with any requests. If you like this post, please consider following me here, liking my Facebook page Karen Loves Country or following me at Twitter. Thanks for reading! #NightToShine #TimTebowFoundation #RisenChristLutheranChurch #Davenport #Iowa #SpecialProm