On a night when every man and woman who came as a guest was chosen a king or queen of their prom, 98 very special individuals were treated to a night they will not forget after attending the Night to Shine Prom.
The worldwide event for people with special needs, hosted locally at the Celebration Center was sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation on Feb. 12, and provided more than 32,000 people with special needs the opportunity to attend a prom in celebration of their lives in simultaneous events in 48 states and seven counties.
“Tonight is really such a small thing that we could do for our guests,” Karen Miesner, event coordinator said. “It makes me, and I really think all of the volunteers here tonight realize how truly blessed and honored we were to get to play a small part in this evening.
“When we first started planning the event, we were a little apprehensive about would we be able to find enough individuals who wanted to be an escort or help with this,” Miesner added. “But all of the volunteers have been so caring and compassionate and loving about truly wanting to help make this special that I don’t think we could have asked for anything better or more special for everyone involved.”
Miesner said that everyone who volunteered probably had a “God Story” to share about someone with special needs who had touched their lives and was a way for the volunteers to share those special memories as well.
“I had a truly remarkable uncle who had Down Syndrome,” volunteer Lakota Wiskur said. “He was such a great, loving individual who I loved so much.
“He died when I was on a mission trip to Haiti a few years ago and I never had the chance to say goodbye to him before he passed.” Wiskur added. “Tonight reminds me how much I miss him and the fact that he isn’t here, but it is also a way that I can honor him and the joy and impact he made on my life and others.”
Wiskur escorted Smithton student Noah Adams at the event.
Adams commented that he was having a good time enjoying the games and the meal and other activities at the prom but what he was most looking forward to was to, “hit the dance floor.”
Young and old spent much of the night on the dance floor, which was one of the most popular venues of the night.
Throughout the evening most of the guests took a turn dancing not only with their escorts but also with each other before they were crowned at the event.
“Tonight is a night for you to shine,” Tim Tebow said to those gathered at the event by video. “Every one of you should be a king or a queen every single day of your life.”
Miesner said that the inspiration and willingness of Tebow to make that proms happen was important to the happiness of those who attended.
“Here is a person who truly is an example of the Christian life that he professes,” Miesner said. “It is easy to say you believe in a cause, but to see someone like him give of his time and his finances to stand behind what he says made it very easy for all of us to donate a portion of our time to help bring about the smiles we have seen here tonight.”
“Every day I wake up I think about what ‘what are you going to put in front of me today God?” Miesner said. “Sometimes it’s little and sometimes it seems big but then you come to an event like this and you realize how small the problems you face really are because all that matters is the happiness you can bring to another person’s life.”
Miesner added that there were many happy tears throughout the evening especially when the last song was played but in the end it was all about the smiles.
“After tonight we will start to plan next year’s prom, how could we not after the blessing we have all been given tonight,” Miesner said. “Tonight was about our guests and helping them to see how valuable and special they are not only tonight but each and every day of their lives.
“Tonight was all for them and the smiles.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484