WASHINGTON TWP, N.J. (CBS) – Riding in limousines behind police escorts, more than 100 guests attended the “Night to Shine” special needs prom at Calvary Chapel Gloucester County Church on Friday night.
“Night to Shine” is a worldwide event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation that gives special needs teens and adults an opportunity for a first-class prom.
According to the Foundation, this year there are about 540 “Night to Shine” proms on Feb. 9 in 16 countries that serve 90,000 special needs guests, with the help of more than 175,000 volunteers.
The initiative is global but the efforts are local.
“They’re so excited it’s beyond rewarding,” says Debora Smith whose boutique The Right Fit Dresses and Alterations of Sewell that outfitted about 25 of the female guests.
Numerous businesses in and around Washington Township donated food, flowers, hair and makeup stylists, prom gowns, tuxedos and more.
“You can tell right away once they put the tuxedo on that they’re enjoying themselves,” said Lou Polino of Lifestyles Tuxedos that donated dozens of tuxedo rentals.
More than 300 people also volunteered to drive limos, cheer at a red carpet reception and dance with all the guests.
In West Philadelphia, “Night To Shine” took over the School of the future on Parkside Avenue.
Danny was one of hundreds of guests having a great time.
“I am loving it,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s really excellent here. It’s really cool. You see the red carpet over there and everyone has a buddy. And I see a ton of pretty ladies out there too!”
Pastor Kent Jacobs and Epic Church hosted this “Night To Shine” with one goal in mind.
“Their whole life they fought a bigger battle than most of us will ever fight,” he says. We just had a parade for a group of underdogs, but tonight is about celebrating a group of people that are really the ultimate underdogs.”
The night ended with each guest being crowned prom king or queen.