A Night Like No Other Night To Shine 2020


Tim Tebow spent his early life with his missionary parents in the Philippines. It was when he was 15 that he met a boy that would change his outlook on the world forever. Sherwin was a boy born with his feet backwards who was looked at as cursed by his village. Through the mission, the village was shown that Jesus loves everyone, no matter their disability. In 2010, Tim Tebow created the Tim Tebow Foundation with the mission of bringing faith, hope, and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. Through his foundation, Tebow began the Night to Shine program in 2014, a prom for people with special needs. This year, February 7th marked the sixth year of the event; it was hosted by 721 churches, attended by approximately 115,000 guests, and supported by 215,000 volunteers in 34 countries around the world. 

Since 2018, the First Christian Church of Herrin has had the honor of hosting the Night to Shine event for local people with special needs. Over the course of the past three years, volunteers have watched as the room lit up with a light like no other. Guests arrive in the early afternoon and are given royal treatment as they are dressed up and pampered before the big night. Then, at approximately 5:00, guests enter limousines that transfer them to a night specifically for them. They enter on a red carpet and are greeted by their adoring fans, including the SIU football team, and “paparazzi.”They are then found by their “buddy” for the night;a person that is there throughout the night to eat, dance, take pictures, and overall have fun with. They take professional prom pictures before going on to eat their meal for the night which consists of  of chicken strips, fries, rolls, green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes. The guests and buddies are served by kitchen staff and fill their tummies before going back into the auditorium where karaoke is in full swing. Guests are welcome to socialize and sing for the other guests if they want, or help themselves to cupcakes or cookies. When all guests have arrived back from dinner, the DJ gets the party going with a playlist of hit songs and the party really begins. For a first time volunteer, Tyler Stritzel, the night was like nothing he had ever seen before. “Everyone was happy and energetic and I was surprised at the work that everyone had put in for the night to be as successful as it was,” Said Stritzel about the night. 

For guests, the night is a time of fun and love as they are treated as a queen or king. For Starlaira Taylor, her favorite part of the night was dancing; “I really like to dance. Dancing is fun.” Star also loved her crown that she received at the end of the night because it was really pretty. Each night, at the end of the event, each guest is crowned king or queen with a crown just for them. “It’s one of the most magical parts of the whole night. Seeing the attendees’ faces brighten and watching the happiness that overtakes them has to be my favorite part of the night,”Chloe Finn, a two time volunteer for the event expressed about the program.

Every person deserves to feel loved no matter what. With organizations like The Tim Tebow Foundation, and nights like Night to Shine, the world is becoming a more caring and loving place.