BRUNSWICK — Everyone was royalty for the night at the second annual Night to Shine prom.
Held at the Diamond Event Center, the Friday night dance was sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation and hosted by Brunswick Reformed Church. The goal of Night to Shine is to provide a real prom experience for individuals with special needs age 14 and older.
Jay Carroll, associate minister at Brunswick Reformed Church, said the event brought together 125 individuals from the community and more than 250 volunteers.
“The reason behind it is to make people with special needs feel more special than they ever have before in their life,” Carroll said. “It is a great thing, I’m glad to be involved with it.”
Carroll said the Tim Tebow Foundation provides all the funding for the event, and there were 500 churches in all 50 states and 16 countries hosting a dance Friday.
“We got onboard last year, so this is our second year that we have been doing this, and we are super excited because at our church every Thursday night we have a church service directly for adults with special needs,” Carroll said.
Friday’s event included limousine rides and a red-carpet entrance.
In addition to dancing to hits like “The Twist,” a professional photographer and photo booth were available to capture the night.
Medina resident Greg Johnson attended Night to Shine for the second time with his buddy, Renee Garpaic, also of Medina. Johnson said the music was good and he was having a good time.
“I was his buddy last year, so I asked to be his buddy this year as long as he was OK with it,” Garpaic said.
She said she is a member of Brunswick Reformed Church, which asks for volunteers to serve as buddies for the guests of honor during the evening.
Visintainer Middle School seventh-grader Ethan Oberg was one of the many volunteers on hand that helped make the evening come together. He said he thinks it is important to have events like Night to Shine.
“These people are so awesome to talk to and such nice people,” Ethan said. “People judge them too quickly.”
Carroll said that because the evening is meant to make each guest feel special, all would receive a crown.
“The event is called Night to Shine for a reason; our guests are shining here,” Carroll said.
“No volunteer will leave here without smiling at least once throughout the night,” he said. “It is just a wonderful night to be there for somebody else.”
Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or email@example.com.