WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It is s a worldwide event that gives people with special needs a night they will not forget. And this year Wilmington joined the Night to Shine movement sponsored by the Tim Tebow foundation.
Night to Shine gives those with special needs who may not have had the chance to go to prom the opportunity to do so. This is the third year Night to Shine has been in the works.
The event is always the Friday before Valentine’s Day and is put on in 50 states across the nation and more than 10 countries.
This year Wilmington joined the cause hosting the event at the Global River Church. Organizer Christy Ferrante kicked things off in the Port City after attending the event last year in Raleigh.
“Not only is it an event for the community. It’s just to show them how much God loves them. And how much we love them. And they don’t always get ya know, these wonderful amazing events. It’s just our heart just to bless these people,” Ferrante said.
People with special needs getting the experience of a lifetime. Each guest was announced on a red carpet with fans and paparazzi.
Once inside prom goers had plenty to do from riding in limousines, to getting their hair and makeup done, to breaking it down on the dance floor.
“I guess I like to dance. It’s fun,” guest, Matthew Chalfant said.
“Dancing. Playing music. Wearing a tiara,” guest, Nicole Bass said.
“So far it’s really great. I like it a lot. Just meeting new friends is what I like to do,” guest, Antonio Karras said.
It was a night guests, organizers and volunteers will never forget.
“Oh the smiles. I can’t even put it into words. Just seeing the happiness on their faces when they get to pick out a prom dress or get their hair and makeup done. Or dance the night away,” Ferrante said.
It is an event that hits close to home for Senior Pastor Tom Hauser. Pastor Hauser has a daughter with specials needs and says he could not have been more excited to host an event with such a great purpose.
“A mom had called in actually and said I never thought my daughter would have a prom. And so when she said this had just been an answer to her prayers. I said oh man that’s what we want to do. So it’s a great night,” Pastor Hauser said.
150 guests attended the Wilmington Night to Shine event. More than 20 churches and 400 volunteers across the city helped put the night together.