Night to Shine will again be coming to Daviess County. Antioch Christian Church has partnered with the Tim Tebow Foundation to host the prom-like event for hundreds of area persons with special needs. This year, Night to Shine will be held at Westgate Academy at Crane on Feb. 10.
Moving to Westgate Academy, local Night to Shine co-chair Kim Burkhart said will allow up to 250 men and women with special needs age 14 and over to attend the special prom-themed event that includes dinner, dancing, limousine rides, a paparazzi and more. And at the end of the evening, guests will each be crowned prom king or prom queen.
“It’s a really neat experience for our special guests,” said Burkhart, adding that last year’s event brought together guests from not only Daviess County but also Knox, Martin, Greene and other surrounding counties. “Moving Night to Shine to Westgate means we can open up the experience to even more.”
More guests mean that more volunteers are also needed.
“We have a need for Buddies,” Burkhart said, adding that while Night to Shine guests should be at least 14, Buddies need to be 16-years-old. “That’s one of the most rewarding experiences.”
Buddies dine with the special guest, play games with them and dance with them.
“Buddies are just that,” she said. “They have a lot of fun with the guests.”
Other teams of volunteers assist guests with bathroom needs, dispense medications when needed and help meet dietary needs among other things.
“We try to meet the needs of the guests,” said Burkhart. “This night is all about them.”
All Buddies and volunteers must complete a background check that’s available on the Antioch Christian Church website, acclife.org/nighttoshine. Applications for special guest are also available on the same website.
While guests enjoy themselves, caregivers, Burkhart said, can also take a break in the respite room while still watching the action below.
“We’ll be streaming what’s going on down there for those upstairs,” she said.
Antioch Christian Church will be one of just a handful of sites in Indiana selected to host the special evening. Some other churches participating in the state are in Jasper, Kokomo, Sellersburg and Valparaiso.
“Night to Shine continues to grow each year,” Burkhart said.
During Night to Shine 2015, 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers worked together to honor more than 7,000 kings and queens of the prom. Last year, Night to Shine saw 450 percent growth, reaching 32,000 honored guests in 201 host churches with 75,000 volunteers. Night to Shine 2017 promises to be the biggest event yet, with more than 350 churches already signed up to participate all around the world.
Becoming a Buddy or other volunteer isn’t the only way to get involved in Night to Shine.
Keith Meece, co-chair of Night to Shine, said gently used formal wear and “Sunday best” are being accepted as well.
“We’ll take dress pants, shirts, dresses. And it doesn’t have to specifically be formal wear,” said Meece, adding monetary donations are also accepted for the cause. “It can be something you’d wear to church.”
Clothing can be dropped off at the church between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information on Night to Shine contact the church at 812-254-2651.