A Night to Shine

Posted February 27th, 2019

written by Rachel Barter, MRI

Not even the sparkles on the 250 honored guests crowns and dresses could outshine the brightness of the smiles on every attendees face at the Night to Shine prom hosted by GT Church, First Christian Church, and MRI Friday, February 8th. While this was the first year GT Church, First Christian Church, and MRI participated, this is the Tim Tebow Foundation’s 5th year sponsoring the worldwide event. This year, over 650 churches hosted this unforgettable evening.

If there was only one word to describe Decatur’s Night to Shine it would be, life-changing. Nearly 600 volunteers in the Decatur community came together to make this event a memorable success, and if you ask any of them about their experience, they will probably tell you how it blessed their life in some way. The night wasn’t even over and people kept asking “You’re doing this again next year right?” A buddy even told us that they didn’t even have this much fun at their own prom years ago.

For individuals served at MRI, prom day started off like you would expect. Everyone arrived that morning with their dresses and suits in tow. You could see their smiles from the parking lot! Instead of having classes, we invited our friends from Signature Salon and Mr. Johns and spent the day getting the royal treatment. Everything from nails, to makeup, to hair, it was done! Then, after a long day of pampering, it was finally time to go to prom.

When every honored guest entered GT Church a group of Argenta-Oreana cheerleaders were right there cheering them on and welcoming them inside. Once guests were checked in they got to meet their buddy who escorted them into the hair and makeup area where there was no shortage of glitter, lipstick, and glow necklaces. Is it even prom if there isn’t an over abundance of glitter?

Then came the fun part…the red carpet! Each guest had their name announced before walking down the red carpet where the paparazzi were lined up cheering and high-fiving everyone as they came down. At the end of the red carpet, a reporter from WAND was there pulling the honored guests aside interviewing them. If you have an hour to spare and really want to feel the energy from the evening, we suggest checking it out on the Night to Shine – Decatur Facebook page!

The rest of the evening consisted of a lot of dancing, a delicious dinner from Hickory River, photo booth, karaoke, games, and the much anticipated, crowning ceremony! Every honored guest was crowned the king and queen of the prom, and if you thought the smiles were big at the beginning of the night, it didn’t compare to the pure joy and happiness you could see on every face while being crowned.

While the main goal of Night to Shine is to give people with special needs their own night to be celebrated, it serves another important purpose. Night to Shine gives people with special needs the opportunity for others in their community and all around the world to see their abilities. At MRI, our individuals make their own decisions; learn how to live more independently, have a job if they would like one, and much more. They tell us their goals and we help them reach them.

We are so grateful to the Tim Tebow Foundation, First Christian Church, and GT Church for giving the special needs community of Decatur their own Night to Shine!

Thank you to every committee member, volunteer, staff member, honored guest, and family member or guardian who participated in and helped make this event a huge success! See you next year.

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