Opinion: Pandemic And All, It’s Still Time To Shine For Tim Tebow’s Kings And Queens

It’s time to shine once again. For the seventh straight year, the Tim Tebow Foundation will celebrate their worldwide prom for special needs guests, Night to Shine. The event is always held near Valentine’s Day, the day of love, because the entire idea is to focus on God’s love and let those in attendance know how much God loves them. Due to the pandemic however, this year’s big bash will be very different.

The Tim Tebow Foundation is the charity organization run by former football star and current New York Mets Minor Leaguer Tim Tebow. Last year at this time, Tebow and his new bride, Demi-Leigh Nel Peters were dancing the night away with Night to Shine attendees in Albania. It was just before we were all told to stay in our houses for two weeks (turned 11 months). Tebow always makes an appearance at some of the parties to the delight of all on hand. Now, there’s a new challenge. This year, for the first time, Night to Shine will be held virtually all virtual on February 12.

The unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs, ages 14 and older (there is no maximum age), is held in numerous locations, all on the same day. All fifty states and several countries participate. Usually the events are packed. The guests of honor are the kings and queens, the special needs children and adults for whom the event is designed for. Also on hand, a slew of volunteers. People sign up to help in various roles from parking attendants to hair dressers to DJs. Red carpets, limos, karaoke, emotional support dogs, balloons, dancing, and lots of food are all part of the night. But because of COVID-19, this year’s Night to Shine will be held online. This year, volunteers will still be needed, but instead of during the big night, they will mostly be needed in the days leading up to the 12th.

Each individual party is sponsored by a local church. Over the years, this ministry has served hundreds of thousands of individuals with disabilities. The coronoavirus will not stop that from continuing in 2021, albeit in a different fashion.

“After much prayer and talking with wise council, we felt it best to move this year’s Night to Shine to a virtual event,” Tebow said in a press release. “The safety of our honored guests has always been of utmost importance to us. We simply could not put them in a position where their health was at increased risk. That being said, we are so excited to introduce the Virtual Night to Shine Experience to our guests and their families. We may not be gathered in person, but there is still an incredible opportunity to love, honor, and celebrate our friends worldwide.”

Night to Shiners will be honored through an engaging online experience on February 12. Guests will virtually journey around the world, hearing special messages from celebrities. There will be the usual singing and dancing, as well as the official crowning ceremony announcing each honored guest as the king or queen of the prom. Those crowns however will be placed on their heads in the comfort of their own homes. In years past, this was all done in person at schools, churches, and banquet halls.

Although Night to Shine will be almost all digital, many kings and queens will still have the option for a little fun away from their homes. Along with the virtual experience, some churches in the United States are also implementing Shine-Thru, a safe in-person portion of the night for guests, all within the security of their own vehicle. Shine-Thru will offer drive-thru elements that may include the traditional red carpet, volunteers to decorate vehicles, music, gift bags, special appearances by notable characters or local celebrities, and more. All necessary safety precautions will be taken by volunteers and event coordinators working the event.

The Tim Tebow Foundation bills itself as existing to bring Faith, Hope, and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. This mission is being fulfilled every day through four primary focuses in the fields of Orphan Care and Prevention, Special Needs, Children with Profound Medical Needs, and Anti-Human Trafficking. Night to Shine is the group’s flagship event. Like Tebow has done so many times on the gridiron and on the diamond, Night to Shine will forge ahead even when facing obstacles.

Many Night to Shine host churches are still registering guests for this virtual experience. Find a church near you at https://www.timtebowfoundation.org/ministries/night-to-shine

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