MONTVILLE, NJ – Eighty guests were given the “royal treatment” at Jacksonville Chapel when 200 volunteers helped give special needs adults “A Night to Shine.”
The event, a prom sponsored by baseball player Tim Tebow’s charitable foundation, included guests from Montville Township’s Archway program.
Archway is a social program for Montville Township adults with disabilities, according to director Carolyn Deevey, who accompanied the Montville group. Individuals with physical, emotional and neurological disabilities get to meet twice a month to socialize with other Archway members. Outings include movie night, bowling, bingo, miniature golf and the zoo, she said.
A Night to Shine was held Feb. 10 at the chapel, and guests were provided with the “royal treatment,” according to Ingrid Flannery, Director of Special Needs Inclusion.
This was the first year the chapel had hosted the event, Communications Coordinator Marissa Nadeau told TAPinto Montville.
The attendees arrived to shoe shine, hair and makeup stations, where volunteers helped the party go-ers look their best. They were given corsages and boutonnieres, then walked the red carpet where “paparazzi” took their photos. They were then treated to a catered dinner. The “ballroom” was decorated with balloons, lights and streamers. Each participant was matched with a volunteer host who accompanied them throughout the evening, assuring that there was always be someone to sit with, an escort to activities, and to look out for every need, according to Flannery.
The guests could go for a ride on a party bus, have their photo taken formally or in a fun photo booth, sing karaoke, and of course dance. Music provided by a professional DJ included 50s and 60s hits and “Shut up and Dance with Me!”
Around the world, 350 churches also participated, according to a release from the Tebow Foundation.
Montville guest Jarret said he enjoyed making a Valentine for his mom and then he danced with her, which was fun, he said.
Flannery said many of the volunteers who helped out that night serve as regular participants in the chapel’s special needs ministry, and all were trained for their unique role as a part of the event. Many have extensive training in various areas related to special needs, she said.
“These volunteers are caring individuals, many with family members of their own who have special needs, and all were thrilled to provide this evening to our guests,” Flannery said.“We held this prom because at Jacksonville Chapel, we believe every person is uniquely designed by God as part of his divine plan – and in fact, an indispensable part.”