TROY — Hundreds of residents from across Ohio donned their spiffiest attire and danced the night away during Night to Shine, a special celebration sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.
The event, organized by Troy Christian Church, was held on Friday, Feb. 9 at the Crystal Room in Troy, and ran in conjunction with 540 other churches across 50 states and 16 countries.
All people with special needs, ages 14 and older, were eligible to come and join in the fun.
Mark Messmore, minister at Troy Christian Church, first served as the leader of Night to Shine in 2017, and was thrilled by the opportunity to reprise the event again this year.
“This is the second year we’ve hosted Night to Shine,” Messmore said. “We had a fantastic time the first time around. It was on our site last year, but we just recognized that there were some limitations with how much our facility could handle. We began looking elsewhere, and were able to get connected with the Crystal Room, who partnered with us to be able to do this whole thing.
“Night to Shine really exists to provide an unforgettable Prom night for those with special needs. It’s a night where we can tell them, ‘We want to celebrate you. We want to show you that God loves you and that we love you as well.’”
The event, spread throughout multiple rooms of the Crystal Room property, featured a red carpet and photo station in the entry lobby, a dance floor with a disc jockey, a karaoke station, photo booths with costumes and props, and a full three-course meal for all in attendance.
“We try to really make them feel like celebrities,” Messmore said. “That’s why we have the red carpet and photo stations. That’s why later this evening, we’re going to crown all of them kings and queens of the Prom. We just want to try and do everything we possibly can to celebrate them and show them how much they matter.”
As soon as registry for the event opened, an overwhelming amount of support poured in from the community.
“We had 125 people register to participate, and we had 235 register to volunteer,” Messmore said. “We have people coming from Miami County, Shelby County, Vandeburg County — they’re from all over the place. It’s a lot of fun, and a real blessing to all involved.”
At the end of the night, Tim Tebow addressed all participants in a streamed video recording, thanking them all for their involvement and reminding them of God’s love for everyone present.
Night to Shine now attracts over 90,000 participants and 175,000 volunteers every year. The Tim Tebow Foundation’s mission is “to bring faith, hope, and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”
For more information, visit www.timtebowfoundation.com.