Special Needs Prom to be held on Feb. 9, sponsored by Tim Tebow Foundation


Julianna Kessilyas

Volunteers prepare for the Special Needs Prom. It will be on Feb. 9 at Northview Church from 6 to 9 p.m.

Julianna Kessilyas

According to Northview’s communications director Lauren Wright, Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs and their caregivers, from ages 14 and up. “An equally important part of the night is caring for the caregivers of these individuals, so they’ll get a night where they are in the building and they can come watch if they want but they can also relax and feel like they have an evening to breathe,” Wright said.

Every guest attending Night to Shine enters this complimentary event on a red carpet with a friendly crowd and paparazzi. Wright said that once the guests arrive they will receive the royal treatment, including hair and makeup stations, shoe-shining areas, limousine rides, corsages and boutonnieres, a catered dinner from Maggiano’s, karaoke, prom favors for each honored guest, a respite room for parents and caretakers, and, of course, and a dance floor all leading up to the moment when each guest is crowned king or queen of the prom.

“We have over 200 guests signed up, we have over 400 volunteers coming, and we have over 200 caregivers coming as well, so it’s going to be a full house,” Wright said.

According to Wright, the Tim Tebow Foundation was able to provide a lot of help planning the event. “(The Tim Tebow Organization) gave us a pretty set template on how you do the event with a lot of guidelines to make sure everybody is safe and secure, especially because there’s just a wide variety of health concerns,” she said.

Although the event itself took a lot of work people like Laura Kinder, special services instructional assistant at CHS acknowledges the how great of an opportunity this event really is for special needs students.  I think providing the opportunity for them to have events, where (it) is specifically geared toward them or to include them with other students or the general population, builds their social confidence and creates an environment where they are included more readily than otherwise,” Kinder said.

Dylan Erickson senior and Northview leader agrees with Kinder. “I think it is a really great opportunity for special needs students because a lot of the times you don’t see them get the chance to go out and have a night completely dedicated to them. I think it’s really cool how the organization that Tim Tebow has to rent out a place like Northview and just give them a night that’s meant for them and engineered to be specifically for them,” Erickson said.

Erickson, being a part of Northview, gets to witness the great work the Church has done in the past. “I love being a part of Northview because of events like these, especially being able to host them. They do a ton for the community, not only in Carmel but also downtown Indianapolis to help those in need. This event is just another example of them reaching out and being able to help out an organization that is coming to help others,” Erickson said.

So many people have dedicated their time and effort into making Night to Shine the best it could be for all the guests deserving of a special evening.

Overall, Wright, Kinder and Erickson alike, said they are proud that something like Night to Shine exists for deserving people. Wright also said, “It’s just a fun way to celebrate a segment of our community that tends to be marginalized or forgotten and celebrate them for who they are.”