by Katie Louise Leach

CLEVELAND, Ga., (TMNews) —  A Winter Wonderland themed entrance was aglow with whimsical lights, twinkling decorations and the excited faces of attendees as they entered into the Night to Shine prom event for the special needs community at Hopewell Baptist Church, February 10th.

For the students of Truett McConnell University and Hopewell Baptist volunteers, this was not the first Tim Tebow Foundation’s prom they had experienced. In 2016, the two collaborated to bring the special needs community a night they wouldn’t forget. The event proved to be an enormous success for workers and attendees alike.
After picking up a name tag, each guest was greeted by their buddy for the evening. These buddies had gone through a special Night To Shine training, and were prepared to go above and beyond to make sure each guest had a memorable experience.

Melanie Beeman, an active member of the TMU Student Life Staff, was all smiles as she reflected on her guest from last year, saying: “He knew everyone here, and was just the life of the party.”

Sophomore Alexandria Green was able to be reunited with her guest for the second year in a row. When asked about what they were most looking forward to, both agreed “the limo ride” was a highlight from the year before.

Glitz and glamour
After introductions were exchanged, guests were shown to an extravagant photo booth, featuring a professional photographer to capture their prom picture. These pictures were printed on site and later given to each guest in a frame.

From there, guests had the option of getting their hair and makeup done, shoes shined, or a limo ride. Other options included an additional photo booth, a walk down the red carpet, and the dance floor.

Returning volunteer Hannah Wall and her guest shared that each station contained something fun, saying “the food, limo rides, dancing…just about all of it” were their favorite parts.

One of the most popular activities of the night included the Karaoke room. Guests were able to choose from hundreds of tracks and sing along with the lyrics displayed on the wall. Whether it was a solo act or a duet, every performance was met with the entire room erupting in applause.

At the end of the night, neither the guests nor the buddies wanted to say goodbye. Pictures and goody bags were shared as mementos of their time spent together.

Bobbie Young, who is heavily involved in the special needs community and Special Olympics, had nothing but praise for the event. She continuously thanked all the volunteers who worked to put together such a fun and relaxing evening. “It’s just so wonderful. All of it,” Young stated. “This is absolutely the best thing you could offer them.”


Katie Louise is a sophomore Early Childhood Education major and freelance writer for TMU.

Return to News Archive