Fourth Annual A Night To Shine Prom


The Tim Tebow Foundation has sponsored Night to Shine for the past five years, and this year was One Life Fellowships’ fourth year in hosting this event at their facility. Night to Shine is a prom night for those with special needs ranging all over the spectrum. On Feb. 9th, over 200 guests, dressed in their finest, came to One Life to experience this event. One Life is one of many churches that host this prom.

“In essence, what Night to Shine is, is on the same day and at the same time, over 600 churches around the world come together to throw a prom night for those with special needs,” said Camryn Eastin, coordinator of the event at One Life. “In a lot of cases, those who attend have never been to a prom because they either were uncomfortable going, they weren’t invited, or they didn’t know what it would be like.”

This prom night gives them a chance to dance the night away on a dance floor, sing their hearts out in a karaoke room, ride in a corvette or a limousine, strut down a red carpet, and have their picture taken. This does, however, take quite a bit of planning. According to Eastin, it takes about eight to nine months of overall planning and preparing for the event.

“Our plan is to host it every year as long as we can,” said Eastin. “As long as people keep coming and are willing to help us put it on, then we will continue hosting.”
There are many opportunities and positions to volunteer for. The planning team, decorating team, food service, paparazzi, drivers, Buddies, medical staff, and others strive together to make the night as special as possible. As the event keeps growing in capacity, so does the amount of people needed to work the event.

“We are going to need to involve some other churches that would sort of take on some of the responsibility,” said Pastor Allen Eastin, pastor of One Life Fellowship and Eastin’s father. “We have a lot of volunteers from other churches, but we need some more direct participation and ownership from other churches that could partner with us.”
Many volunteers from other churches and people from our community have come together every year to help work the event. Four CF students who attended the event as volunteers, shared their experience of serving this year and the past years of Night to Shine. Memories, what they enjoyed most, and the future Night to Shine events were relived and discussed.

“My favorite part about Night to Shine is probably seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces when they get crowned King or Queen of the prom,” said Hannah Menchaca, who is majoring in elementary education. “It’s just amazing what a little thing can do.”
One Life also had an event one weekend where they had some of the guests come and try on possible dresses and outfits from a wide selection that was donated by the community, according to Menchaca. A lot of the guests came to the event wearing the dress or the suit they picked out from the fitting.

“My favorite part about Night to Shine was watching guests come down the red carpet,” said Haley Menchaca, who is majoring in nursing and is the twin sister of Hannah Menchaca. “I was the leader of the paparazzi team this year, and I got to see every guest in every outfit and each of their smiling faces.”
As guests walked down the red carpet, a crowd of volunteers cheered for the guests and took pictures of them. This was the best part of the night for Haley Menchaca as she facilitated the paparazzi team.
“My favorite part has to be the crowning ceremony,” said Seth Jones, who is looking into forensic psychology. “It’s so special and so unique and that’s what sets it apart from other dances because everyone gets the chance to be a part of something more.”

At the end of the night, each guest is crowned King or Queen of the prom by an assigned Buddy who guides them around during the evening festivities. Unlike most proms where they focus on two people, each guest is recognized as a King or Queen at the prom.
“My favorite part about Night to Shine is just getting to love on people you may never get in contact with in the first place,” said Lauren Davison, who is also majoring in elementary education. “That’s what we are here for; to love on all these people that may not get shown love in any day life.”
One Life will be hosting Night to Shine again in 2019, and it seems like it will continue growing into something more in the years to come.

Story by Mya Kreuer

Photo by Mya Kreuer