Though Virtual, Tebow Event for Special Needs Guests Still Shines Bright

Tim Tebow attends DIRECTV Super Saturday Night 2019 at Atlantic Station on February 2, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for DIRECTV)
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for DIRECTV

For the seventh straight year, the Tim Tebow Foundation will be holding its annual Night to Shine event. Night to Shine is an amazing prom-like party for people with special needs. This year, however, Night to Shine will be unlike any of the other editions.

The 2021 Night to Shine is just over two weeks away. The Tim Tebow Foundation always holds the big party near Valentine’s Day. The idea is to show those in attendance and all those involved that God’s love is always with us. Usually, the evening is filled with a red carpet walk, limousine rides, make-up and hair booths, shoeshine areas, music, food, dancing, and balloons. It’s just like a prom. Or to be more accurate, many proms are held simultaneously all over the globe. But due to COVID-19, the 2021 Night to Shine will be primarily virtual.

The prom night, centered on God’s love, is for people with special needs ages 14 and older. There is no age limit. Over the years, this ministry has served hundreds of thousands of individuals with disabilities. Now, there’s a new challenge. For the first time, the celebration will be held virtually.

Tim Tebow is no stranger to challenges. The former Florida Gators and NFL quarterback has beaten the odds time and time again. Currently a farmhand in the New York Mets organization, Tebow is again looking to overcome some huge professional challenges. He is tackling Night to Shine with that same optimism and passion.

“After much prayer and talking with wise council, we felt it best to move this year’s Night to Shine to a virtual event,” Tebow said in a press release. “The safety of our honored guests has always been of utmost importance to us. We simply could not put them in a position where their health was at increased risk. That being said, we are so excited to introduce the Virtual Night to Shine Experience to our guests and their families. We may not be gathered in person, but there is still an incredible opportunity to love, honor, and celebrate our friends worldwide.”

Since the announcement of the virtual experience back in September, about 500 churches spread across 33 countries have signed on as an official host church. Over the years, all 50 states have participated. The event just keeps growing, all uniting around one common belief – that all people are uniquely and perfectly made in the image of God.

Tebow, the founder of the event, usually makes a personal appearance at a few of the live events, and he always delivers a video message to all of the parties taking place worldwide.

The 2021 Night to Shiners will be honored through an engaging online experience on February 12. Guests will virtually journey around the world and hear special messages from celebrities. There will be singing, dancing, and the official crowning ceremony announcing each honored guest as the king or queen of the prom.

In years past, this was all done in person at schools, churches, and banquet halls. All of the staff, from food servers to parking attendants to hairdressers are volunteers. This year, volunteers will still be needed, but instead of during the big night, they will mostly be needed in the days leading up to the 12th.

Although Night to Shine will be virtually all virtual, many kings and queens will still have the option for something a little more hands-on. Alongside the virtual experience, some churches in the United States are also implementing Shine-Thru, a safe in-person portion of the night for guests, all within the security of their own vehicle. Shine-Thru will offer drive-thru elements that may include the traditional red carpet, volunteers to decorate vehicles, music, gift bags, special appearances by notable characters or local celebrities, and much more. All necessary safety precautions will be taken by volunteers and event coordinators working the event. Many youth athletic leagues have held these types of events during the pandemic. There have even been very popular Halloween, Christmas, and Chanukah bashes held within vehicles.

The Tim Tebow Foundation bills itself as existing to bring Faith, Hope, and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. This mission is being fulfilled every day through four primary focuses in the fields of Orphan Care and Prevention, Special Needs, Children with Profound Medical Needs, and Anti-Human Trafficking. Night to Shine is the group’s flagship event. Like Tebow on the ball field, Night to Shine is standing tall, even in the most trying of times.

Many Night to Shine host churches are still registering guests for this virtual experience. Find a church near you at https://www.timtebowfoundation.org/ministries/night-to-shine.

Follow Kevin Scholla on Twitter @kevinscholla and on Parler @kevinscholla45

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