Volunteers are staying busy planning year's "Night to Shine," a prom event for teens and adults with special needs.
The third annual event, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, takes place this Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cleveland's First Presbyterian Church.
"Night to Shine" is an international series of events all taking place Feb. 9. It is funded by the Tim Tebow Foundation to provide a special night for those with special needs, and local organization's partner with the foundation to provide these events.
"It is a good opportunity to let people with special needs know they are loved," said Jami Standridge, one of the local event coordinators. "And it's always an amazing night."
The event is open to teens and adults ages 14 and up who have physical or intellectual disabilities. They are given the chance to take part in an event which includes the most fun aspects of a high school prom, while keeping their special needs in mind.
Though the event offers a variety of activities, the beginning of the event is designed to make sure everyone gets the chance to shine.
Volunteers treat the female guests to hair and makeup styling, while the male guests receive shoeshines. Each guest is then given a tiara or crown. Standridge said this is to remind them that they "are all kings and queens that night."
The night's festivities include opportunities to ride in a limo, walk a red carpet, eat a catered dinner, dance, sing karaoke, have pictures taken with a pony and more.
Because dinner and other arrangements are being made for all the prom guests, those attending "Night to Shine" had to pre-register in order to do so. There are currently 153 guests registered. However, there is a waiting list for those who wish to attend.
Standridge noted it "takes a village" to put on an event of this magnitude, but the community is continuing to lend its support to this cause.
Close to 200 volunteers are expected to be on hand for the event, doing everything from serving food to serving as dance partners.
"It is a life-changing experience for everyone involved the night of the event. The volunteers get to see the guests realizing they are loved and valued," Standridge said. "That is a pretty powerful thing, and once you go to 'Night to Shine,' you want to go again."
Several local businesses have also lent their support. These include: Old Fort Restaurant, Tres Hermanos, Imperial Bakery, Stage AVL and DJ Lethal. The Companion and Jim Rush funeral homes are also providing the limos.
For more information on the event, find the "Cleveland Area Night to Shine" page on Facebook or call 423-421-1780.