Time to Shine

An Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Cadet Torres escorts Ashley Graves to the annual Night to Shine event last February.

The internationally celebrated “Night to Shine” will mark its fifth anniversary Feb. 8, the fourth year locally.

This year's East Volusia event will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Henderson Welcome Center at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. In West Volusia, for the second year, it will be from 6 to 9 p.m. in Stetson Baptist Church at 1025 W. Minnesota Ave. in DeLand.

Night to Shine, a prom night experience for people with special needs, is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.

More than 200,000 volunteers will help 100,000 honored guests for the Night to Shine, according to the foundation. “The event will be hosted simultaneously around the world in more than 650 host churches across all 50 states, 22 countries and 35 different denominations.”

Church sponsors in Volusia are Lighthouse Christ Presbyterian Church in Ormond Beach and Stetson Baptist Church in Deland. Other local sponsors include ERAU, Halifax Health, John Hall Automotive, Radiology Associates, Preston Root, Entertainment Arts Inc., Love Like Lyndsey Loved, Sara Kearney Photography and Ann Axon Photography.

“The event is filled to capacity with VIP’s and we are very excited to watch them walk the red carpet into the party again this year,” said Jan Brock, who has been on the Night to Shine committee since it started. “They will be escorted into the party by Embry-Riddle ROTC members and cheerleaders, and once they are inside, they will be treated to a live DJ, karaoke, limo rides, hair and makeup station, a shoe shine station, buffet dinner, dancing and much more. We are working hard to make sure that everyone has the best time!”

The VIPs are escorted down a 150-foot red carpet entering the event, said Bob Coleman, chairman of the East Volusia event with his wife, Bobbi. “We want to pack the sides with 'paparazzi' shouting praise and compliments to our VIPs.”

Attendees should expect a fun photo-booth, formal portraits and the chance to sit on a throne, he said.

Both events have waiting lists, but VIPs are welcome to continue registering.

Referrals come from local schools and non-profits or local families. There are 154 VIPs registered for the Embry-Riddle event, which doesn’t include accompanying companions.

The public is encouraged to come out and be part of the paparazzi from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

In West Volusia, Senior Pastor Dan Glenn is enthusiastic about being a sponsor again for the event.

“We have 188 VIPs registered for Night to Shine,” he said. “The VIPs are our guests, they are the most important people to this event. We are so excited to be able to welcome them, their parents, their caregivers and their group leaders.

Stetson Baptist has more than 400 volunteers registered to help with the event, including church members and community residents. They range in age from sixth grade all the way up into their 70s and 80s.

“Last year was a life changing experience and as soon as we finished last year’s event, we began to think towards Night to Shine for this year,” Pastor Glenn said. “We are expecting it to be a wonderful opportunity to serve our community and reach into a part of the community that many times gets overlooked. We are grateful for the privilege of being able to host a Night to Shine again in 2019 and can say without hesitation we will be the Night to Shine host again in 2020.”

The Tim Tebow Foundation provides financial support to hundreds of churches needing assistance in hosting the event, but sponsors and volunteers remain crucial.

For more information, call Christ Presbyterian Church at (386) 677-4076. Donations can be mailed to the church at Night to Shine, 1035 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach, 32174.

In West Volusia, visit nighttoshinedeland.org or call (386) 734-1991.

You can also visit timtebowfoundation.org/ministries/night-to-shine.

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