Launched and sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation in 2015, Night to Shine is a prom for people aged 14 and older with special needs. It has grown to a worldwide movement of 600 churches in 24 countries serving 200,000 guests through 100,000 volunteers. Every prom worldwide is held on the same evening. Each guest begins the night with a limousine ride up to the red carpet, complete with a warm welcome from a friendly crowd and photographers acting as paparazzi.
Once inside, guests are paired with a "buddy" for the evening and receive the royal treatment. That includes hair and makeup stations, shoe shine areas, corsages and boutonnieres, a catered dinner, karaoke, prom favors for the honored guests, a Respite Room for parents and caregivers, and a dance floor. Each element leads up to the highlight of the evening, when each guest is crowned king or queen of the prom.
"Night to Shine Tri-Valley partners with local churches to offer a safe place for people with special needs to have the time of their lives dancing, singing, eating, and feeling valued for who they are," says Jenna Litvinchuk, Director of Night to Shine Tri-Valley.
Night to Shine Tri-Valley holds one of the largest prom nights in the world. At the 2019 prom held last February, attendees included more than 450 people with special needs, 600 parents and caregivers, and more than 850 volunteers. The prom is free to all guests and their parents and caregivers. The event is 100% volunteer-led and locally funded by Night to Shine Tri-Valley donors and sponsors.
"The whole community is involved," notes Litvinchuk. "We have local churches, businesses, restaurants, police departments, fire departments, government officials, high schools, and volunteers that all come out and help make this evening possible."
In 2016, Sunset Community Church held the area's first Night to Shine Tri-Valley prom with 100 guests with special needs. The success of the event prompted a move to the Alameda County Fairgrounds for the 2017 and subsequent proms. Blue Oaks Church of Pleasanton is the local host for the 2020 Night to Shine prom, which will be held on February 7. Each November an annual fundraising gala helps underwrite the local Night to Shine prom. Night to Shine Tri-Valley also relies on individual donors throughout the year to make this special night a reality. Donations for the group are received through nonprofit Blue Oaks Church.
"All the planning that goes into making this event happen is done by a group of committed volunteers, including myself, and 100 percent of all financial donations made to Night to Shine Tri-Valley go directly to making the event happen," says Litvinchuk.
For more information about Night to Shine Tri-Valley, please visit www.ntstrivalley.org.