At some point in time in a person’s life, everyone should feel like a king or a queen deserving their moment to shine.
With the help of the Tim Tebow Foundation and the First United Methodist Church in Sedalia, 100 individuals with special needs will have the opportunity to do just that.
On Feb. 12, 190 churches around the world will host “Night to Shine” proms sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.
Locally, First United Methodist Church will host the event organized by Karen Miesner.
“One day I came into work and saw a video that popped up on my computer about the prom,” Miesner said. “I thought it was a wonderful idea but I didn’t really say anything to anyone about it.”
Miesner, who is a funeral director at Heckart Funeral Home, said later in the day a co-worker, Jeffrey Page, mentioned he had received the same computer message and thought it would be a memorable and fun event for individuals with special needs.
“Jeff and I talked about it quite a bit that day and we both felt it would be such a wonderful event if it could happen in Sedalia,” Miesner said. “But I knew I needed to pray about it before I agreed to go any further with the idea.”
Last year, in its inaugural event, the proms were hosted in 44 host churches, involving more than 15,000 volunteers who helped 7,000 people become kings and queens for a night.
A press release that Miesner received explained that “every guest will enter their prom on a red carpet complete with welcoming friendly paparazzi.
“Once inside they will receive VIP treatment including hair and makeup stations, shoe shining stations, corsages and boutonnieres, a karaoke room and dancing.”
The highlight of the night will be when every one of the guests is crowned as a king or queen of the prom.
“It wasn’t the event itself that I was worried about,” Miesner said. “I have a brother with special needs and so with him as a part of my life that aspect wasn’t a concern in any way.
“What I prayed about was would I be able to find a place to host the prom, and could I find enough volunteers to help with the event,” she added. “The more I thought about it the more I felt like I was in a good position here to help and we have such a good community and base of support that I thought we should apply to host an event.”
Miesner spoke to the leaders at First United Methodist Church, where she is a member, and once they agreed and the application was approved, Miesner began planning.
“The main thing we need at this time is volunteers,” Miesner said. “Each guest to the prom will have an escort and since we can host 100 guests we already have a need for a considerable number of people to help.
“We’ll have about 20 different areas at the event where we will need help and trying to find that many volunteers is a concern,” Miesner said. “Everyone who works at the event will have to undergo a background check but that is a relatively simple process they can complete at our website.”
There are several opportunities for volunteers to help that night, including parking attendants, working at the photo booth and helping to serve dinner to those who attend.
Miesner said there were more than 20 areas for individuals to volunteer and to help fill that need she plans to reach out to area churches, schools and civic organizations seeking volunteers.
“We’ve already had five area salons who have offered to allow our guests to come in and have their hair and make-up professionally done and they are offering haircuts for the men who attend,” Miesner said. “The entire night is all about trying to make our guests feel as special and important as they truly are.”
The Tim Tebow Foundation is working to make that become a reality for the guests as well.
The Foundation will provide individualized staff guidance at each location, as well as gifts and financial support for the guests who attend.
“After such an amazing response to the inaugural event held in 44 locations earlier this year, our prayer is that this event will one day change the face of Valentine’s Day weekend from simply a celebration of love, to a celebration of God’s love for people with special needs,” Erik Dellenback, executive director of the Tebow Foundation, said.
Individuals who would like more information or who would like to donate to event through the Tebow Foundation may do at www.timtebowfoundation.org/index.php.night-to-shine.
The local prom is for any individual with special needs who is 16 years of age or older. All guests must preregister for the event and volunteers must register to help.
The event will be hosted at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12 at First United Methodist Church.
Local individuals seeking more information about attending or volunteering may do so at www.firstsayyes.com or by calling Miesner at 596-3276. Applications may also be picked up in person at the Heckart Funeral Home, 903 S. Ohio Ave.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484