By: Chelsey Kimmel-Kendrick
For one night, it’s YOUR time to shine! Night to Shine is an event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation that slowly began in 2015 as a way to connect thousands of guests with mental and intellectual disabilities simultaneously for a special prom celebration. Now, there are 11 countries and over 350 churches joining in.
On February 3 you can join in on the dance at one of five churches in Iowa to host the event. This worldwide event is for people with disabilities who are ages 16 to 99. The night is filled with fun from dancing, paparazzi and even a red carpet. Students from the Iowa School of Beauty help out to make everyone look spectacular for the special night. They help the ladies with their hair and makeup, and help shine the gentlemen’s shoes. The churches also have limousines and decorated Link buses to help transport people to and from the locations.
Kyla Cairns is on the volunteer committee for the Prairie Ridge Church that has been hosting the event for three years. She says she has learned a lot from her experience by being able to interact with people with special needs.
“I can’t say that I’ve ever had an interaction with someone with a special need that I didn’t learn something from, probably more than them,” she said. “If anything else, I need to slow down, take my time and appreciate the little things. People are having to get in with the snow and the cold —a lot of time they’re in wheelchairs— and they’re so excited. We need to appreciate the things that we have and I think it really helps us as a community to see each other and how we all are.”
That’s what the event hopes to do. Cairns says from the time people come until they leave, everyone is filled with excitement. That’s one of her favorite parts.
“I’m not a big dancer, so it’s funny to me to see the dance floor packed all night,” she said. “I mean, everyone is dancing and just having such a great time, then you look up and it’s 9 o’clock and it’s over.”
The churches hosting the event in Iowa this year are:
- Prairie Ridge Church in Ankeny
- Risen Christ Lutheran Church in Davenport
- Rising Sun Church of Christ in Pleasant Hill
- Valley Church in West Des Moines
- Our Lady of the River Church in Le Claire
For more information on the event or how to volunteer visit: https://www.timtebowfoundation.org/.