Churches and religious organizations across the nation gearing up for an exciting, prom-style evening of dining and dancing for special-needs teenagers organized by the foundation of former NFL player, Tim Tebow.
The night before Valentine's Day, around 7,000 people from 26 states are expected to attend the "A Night to Shine" event, which will be centered on God's love for tthose with special needs, according to the event's press release. Participants will receive the royal treatment, complete with limousine rides, a red carpet, shoe shines, a dance floor, and much more.
Rising Above Ministries, an organization which seeks to bring hope and encouragement to the special needs community in Cookesville, TN, is among those participating in the event.
"Part of our vision is reaching out to families, so when we learned about this particular event, we immediately thought, 'This is something we have to be a part of,' Jeff Davidson, Rising Above Ministries founder and CEO, told the Gospel Herald.
"Our vision is to take this event and make it an epic, over the top and incredible night. We want everybody who attends to walk away just completely blown away by the love that they experience, the memories they created, and the magic of the moment," he added.
According to Tim Tebow, 27, the theme of the night--everyone is a King and Queen before God--fits perfectly into his organization's mission to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their hour of need.
"Jesus is going to shine on this night, the churches are going to shine, and the special needs community will shine on this night," Tebow said in a statement.
The vision for the event came as a result of the Tim Tebow foundation experiencing a similar event last year at a local church.
"After seeing the smiles on their faces and the way it impacted their whole family, we were certain this was an event that needed to be shared with rest of the country," Erik Dellenback, Executive Director of the Tim Tebow foundation, said in a statement.
"We wondered what would happen if we challenged churches to step up and make a difference in the lives of these special needs children, and the response was incredible."
For Davidson, the event is particularly moving, as his 17 year old son will be among those who will proudly walk the red carpet.
"This is not just my professional passion, but my personal passion as well," he said. "The vision that the Tim Tebow folks have for inclusion and bringing an activity that typical individuals get to enjoy and adapting it so that individuals with special needs can have that same experience--that's part of what we're all about."
Davidson emphasized that Rising Above Ministries has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support the event has received from the local community.
"What has absolutely blown us away and really speaks to the body of Christ is the number of organizations, businesses, churches, and groups who are flooding our office wanting to help, wanting to volunteer, wanting to donate prom dresses, wanting to get involved--it's truly become a community event," he said.
Rachel McDavis, 18, is among many who donated her prom dress for the special occasion.
"It makes me so happy to see my dress being used in such a special way," she told the Gospel Herald. "There is no better way to bring God glory."
And Davidson's couldn't agree more: "That's what I love to see," he said, "the entire community embracing those with special needs."
To learn more about A Night to Shine,visit the events section at www.timtebowfoundation.org