‘Night to Shine’ Prom for People with Special Needs

Valley News Live at 10:00PM KVLY - VOD
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 10:48 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - More than 250 volunteers joined together Friday night to make something amazing happen at Hope Lutheran Church for ‘Night to Shine’.

Every guest of Night to Shine enters this complimentary event on a red carpet complete with a warm welcome from a friendly crowd and paparazzi. Once inside, guests receive the royal treatment, including hair and makeup stations, shoe shining areas, limousine rides, corsages and boutonnieres, a catered dinner, karaoke, prom favors, and a dance floor. Each guest-- more than 150 in Fargo-- is crowned king or queen of the prom.

Judy Siegle Aamodt with Hope Lutheran Church tells us, “A lot of times people with disabilities are sidelined and they can’t fit into the normal activities of life. So here, their life is raised up. They’re center stage. They’re walking the red carpet. It is just so fun for them to be part of.”

25-year-old Jake Thompson has had 14 brain surgeries. He’s blind in one eye, and he can’t read or write; but Friday night, his mind wasn’t on any of that.

“I love it! Just living the dream!” Jake says.

His family gets a break from thinking about it, too. Sheila Thompson, Jake’s grandma, says “He’s having so much fun. It means a lot. Jake looks forward to it all year long.”

Families like the Thompson’s have been missing this event. It’s been cancelled the past 3 years because of Covid. Jake’s date, Emma, shares: “It helps us to see that all of us are great the way we are.”

Night to Shine is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. The unforgettable prom night experience celebrating people with special needs was held in-person by host churches around the world simultaneously on Friday, February 10. On its ninth anniversary, this worldwide prom is expected to serve over 100,000 people with special needs, through 200,000 volunteers at over 700 locations, in all 50 states and over 20 countries.

“I’m so excited Night to Shine 2023 will be back in-person! All around the world, individuals with special needs are going to be celebrated like they should be. We’ve been able to adapt over the last couple years but we can’t wait to be back together in person to cheer for every guest as they walk the red carpet, dance the night away with their friends, crown them as a king or queen of the prom and most importantly, tell every single one of them that their life has purpose and they are loved by us and the God of this universe,” said Tim Tebow, founder of the Tim Tebow Foundation.

Night to Shine launched in 2015 with 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers honoring more than 7,000 kings and queens of the prom.