Night to Shine prom held in Marshfield
Event celebrates individuals with special needs
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — On Friday, Feb. 12, North Ridge Church of Marshfield hosted a prom at Hotel Marshfield for individuals ages 16 and older with special needs. The event, called “Night to Shine,” was sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. This is the first year the national event was held in Marshfield.
This event allowed people who often hear “no” to finally hear “yes” and to be applauded and celebrated.
“It was an opportunity for us to do what we believe the church is supposed to do: love others,” said Beth Zarnke, outreach pastor of North Ridge Church.
Night to Shine began on Valentine’s Day weekend in 2015 as 44 churches across the country and the world hosted proms. In 2016, 200 churches were chosen to host Night to Shine proms, which occurred simultaneously around the world at all locations. The Tim Tebow Foundation provided more than $2 million in sponsorships to the host churches, and more than 70,000 volunteers served more than 32,000 prom kings and queens.
At the Marshfield Night to Shine prom, over 125 guests dressed in prom dresses and tuxedos and traveled from as far as Mauston. Over 250 volunteers from the community assisted with the prom, many as “guest buddies.” Many other volunteers provided behind the scenes help with prom dress distribution, preprom hair and make-up, and other pre-event opportunities.
The free event provided a night of dancing, professional photographs, limo rides, karaoke, hair, makeup, and shoe shines along with hors d’oeuvres and desserts. In addition, a respite room was provided for parents and caregivers to relax, connect, and enjoy a break while the prom was underway.
Each guest was crowned as a king or queen of the prom. Janice Moen, a mother and advocate for the special needs community, said, “I have been working with special needs for 40 years and have never seen such an awesome event in all those years.”
The prom was an opportunity to bring awareness to the special needs community, provide an opportunity for those volunteering to reach beyond their perceived comfort level, and to truly make this a night to remember for individuals who may not have had an opportunity to attend a prom, special event, or wedding.