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Night to Shine

Night to Shine at New Hope Church (photo courtesy Mike Fox Photography)

Night to Shine at New Hope Church (photo courtesy Mike Fox Photography)

Last Friday I went to prom. Yup, you read that right.

I’m 30’ish and went to prom – shiny/glittery heels and all. 

And guess what? I still have goosebumps from such an unforgettable and life-changing evening. My church, New Hope Church, hosted Night to Shine, an annual prom put on by the Tim Tebow Foundation.

(Let me get this out of the way – if you’ve read The Blonde Side for any length of time, you know the Florida State part of me has a hard time rooting for anything Florida Gator-related, but this is different. I’ve always admired Tim Tebow for his faith and his persistence to play the game, but Gator or not, I am officially a Tim Tebow fan after being blessed to be part of such an amazing evening.)

The Tim Tebow Foundation is “committed to celebrating people with special needs.” You know my favorite part about that mission statement? They are committed to celebrating these amazing people. Not just helping, not just raising money, not just making people aware of what special needs are, but celebrating them.

Check out this video (via The Facts) from our event at New Hope Church. Yes, at the very beginning that is me (hot pink dress, coming out of the limo). The reason I’m asking you to watch this video has nothing to do with me or my cupcake-looking dress. I want you to see the smiles on the faces of everyone attending the prom.

My date/buddy was Eric and he was amazing (he is a dancing king – he even takes lessons!). Eric’s mom told me his favorite show is Good Morning America.

As we got out of the limo (some were riding in one for the first time ever!) and walked down the red carpet with lights and cameras flashing, Eric high-fived everyone and kept saying “Good Morning America” is here with the biggest and most genuine smile I’ve ever seen.

I can say with 100% certainty that Eric made my night more memorable than I did his, and sometimes, that’s what volunteering and celebrating others can do for you.

It’s really hard to say I had a “favorite” part of the night, but the sports lover and do-gooder in me

Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews Crowning Kings and Queens of the Prom

Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews Crowning Kings and Queens of the Prom

loved that Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews was in attendance. It wasn’t just the fact that he was there for the event and having a blast himself, he had the honor of crowning each and every guest King or Queen of the Prom. (Do you have goosebumps yet? If you have a heart you do…)

According to the foundation’s website, “Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 16 and older. On one night, February 12, 2016, more than 200 host churches in 48 states and 8 countries will host Night to Shine. That’s more than 70,000 volunteers and 30,000 honored guests sharing the same amazing prom experience on the same night around the world.”

I definitely want to give a shout out and praise to the Tim Tebow Foundation and all the churches and sponsors who made this worldwide event possible, but a special thanks to New Hope Church (specifically Niccole Liston) for being so invested in helping others and encouraging busy people like me to take a break from our to-do lists and celebrate others. It is the encouragement, opportunity and prayer from the leadership at New Hope that makes me want to get more involved in my community and use my strengths and time to help others.

To celebrate others, I should say.