On February 8, 2019, special needs communities across the globe will come together for a “Night to Shine”.
What began as an event sparked by the Tim Tebow Foundation has now become a movement recognizing and celebrating the beauty of 90,000 unique individuals as they are showered with love.
What is Night to Shine All About?
Churches around the globe are literally rolling out the red carpet across more than 537 locations for a prom like no other. Participants won’t pay a single penny to participate. From attendance, limos, and food to eveningwear befitting of royalty, everything guests and their guardians will need to enjoy the event is provided free of charge.
What is the purpose?
“Every time I do an event, it expands the circle and becomes a win-win for everybody,” volunteer event coordinator for the Naples location, Sherri Knaffo-Eppich, says. “It’s a great way to help others and connect people in our community, and it always leads to something positive.”
This is the third year Night to Shine has been held in Naples, and it has grown from one to three locations just to accommodate the swell of interested attendees.
“It’s important for our guests because it gives them a moment to be honored and loved on,” Sherri states.
Yet the blessings go beyond the individuals with special needs.
“The parents tend not to get a night out or have the support to have someone watch their child,” she explains. “So we have a whole different thing going on for the parents to give them a date night; a break.”
As for the volunteers, Sherri describes it as, “a humbling experience.” For her, participation in organizing and executing these events has changed her perspective. She began to notice and advocate for individuals with disabilities or special needs so they can actively participate in activities with the rest of the community.
Between the red carpet treatment, the dinner, the dancing, and the crowning of every attendee as kings and queens of the night, the love infused into every interaction sticks with these guests.
“Everyone gets to walk the red carpet like they’re coming to the Grammy’s,” Sherri says. “Everybody’s cheering for them. It’s a proud moment. I watched one of our guests and he just stood there and took it all in before walking the red carpet. Sometimes they get so excited about the red carpet, they will run back and do it again.”
How to Join the Guest List
Are you yearning for a “Night to Shine”?
If you’re an individual with special needs or the caretaker of one, this event is for you. Register to attend and enjoy the flourish of a fantastic formal evening by registering to attend by filling out the form at the bottom of the page at https://www.swflnighttoshine.com/.
Volunteers Needed in Naples, Sanibel Island, and Cape Coral
As the big day inches closer, all three event locations are seeking volunteers to help make this day a success.
“It’s not too intense and you don’t have to be certified or qualified in any way,” Sherri said. “There are so many roles… It takes about 400 volunteers at each location to pull it off.”
There is a role for everyone, whether you would like to help make our guests feel like stars for the evening or assist with one of the many services or activities that help make this evening possible.
Keep in mind if you would like to assist with guests with special needs, you will need to attend a 1-hour training session. Sessions are available at either:
Wednesday, Jan 16th from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm
New Hope Ministries Gym (2 story building)
7675 Davis Blvd
Naples, FL 34104
Saturday, Jan 19th from 10:30 am to 11:30 am
Upstairs Youth Room at New Hope Ministries (2 story building)
7675 Davis Blvd
Naples, FL 34104
To sign up as a volunteer, simply go to http://www.swflnighttoshine.com to register, then select your preferred location from the drop-down menu.
Can’t attend? You can also donate to help make this night a success. Every aspect of this event is fully funded through the generous contributions of our community.
Help us make it a night to remember.