by Chanda Bell

CLEVELAND, Ga (TMNews) – 180 members of the Truett-McConnell student body united to share Christ’s love at the Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine event for people with special needs on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. The foundation’s vision is “to provide an unforgettable prom night experience centered on God’s love for people with special needs, ages 16 and older.”

Hosted by Hopewell Baptist Church in Gainesville, the event welcomed 200 guests with special needs from the Hall County area. Arm in arm with their Truett-McConnell dates or ‘buddies,’ guests made a grand entrance through a glitter tunnel onto the red carpet. As each guest arrived, he or she received a crown or tiara to honor them all as loved by God. It was a night not only for guests to shine, but most importantly, for Christ’s love to be shown.

Whether participants were singing karaoke, dancing the night away, or enjoying a ride in a limousine, the evening created memories to last a lifetime.

When asked about his prom night experience, Truett-McConnell golfer, Dalton Bruce replied, “Night to Shine was a night that I will never forget. I had a better time at this prom than I did at my own prom in high school. Seeing people’s smiles no matter where I went that night was so heartwarming. It was amazing to see the difference the night made in someone’s life as well as mine.”

Freshman, Zach Mahr echoed Bruce by explaining, “There is nothing better than volunteering your time to spend with someone else and then leave being impacted by them. Mahr went on to say, “My favorite part of the night was when the parents came to pick up their children and told us how appreciative and grateful they were.”

This was not only an exciting night for guests, but it was a monumental time for Truett-McConnell as well. Student volunteers representing various areas of involvement on campus committed to making the evening a success. Members from the student life staff, nine different athletic teams, the music department, campus ministries, and others joined together to show the love of Christ. Morgan Harris, a Christian life coordinator on campus, as well as a member of Hopewell Baptist church commented:

“It was amazing to see my classmates partner with my church to accomplish one goal: to make all of the guests feel like the kings and queens they are. The love of Jesus was evident, and nothing but joy radiated from everyone there. I think we all left with full hearts. Yes, we were there to give our dates the night of their lives, but they, unknowingly, changed our lives in a way that nothing else could.”

With love being the central theme of the night, Truett-McConnell students were excited and grateful to be a part of something that not only made a difference in the lives of others, but in their own lives as well. We want to thank Hopewell Baptist Church for all the hard work they put into making this night possible, and we look forward to working with them in the years to come.

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