A Night to Shine for everyone


By Hope Lecchi - [email protected]



Ruth Dale, left, and Jason Younger dance to “YMCA”’ by the Village People on Friday evening at the Night to Shine Prom hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation at the Celebration Center. Locally 98 guests attended the event with 225 volunteers who helped them have a special night of fun. Dale who was a volunteer said it was a wonderful way to make someone else feel special and loved and that she was thrilled to be a part of the event.


Lakota Wiskur, left, and Noah Adams get ready to play a Wheel of Fortune game at the Night to Shine Prom hosted at the Celebration Center Friday night from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. Wiskur said she wanted to volunteer at the event in remembrance of her uncle who had Down Syndrome and died while she was on a mission trip to Haiti. Friday’s prom was a way to honor him and help others to realize how special they were to others she added. Each guest were paired with a volunteer chaperone for a night of dinner, games, music and dancing.


Melanie Nau a guest at the Night to Shine Prom hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation Friday night at the Celebration Center share a smile with her chaperone for the event, Savana Pritchey. Pritchey is a nursing student at State Fair Community College who said she was told of the event by one of her teachers and decided she who like to attend to help others. Both ladies said the evening was exciting. Ninety eight guests were registered to attend the prom which took place in 48 states and seven countries throughout the world simultaneously Friday evening.


From left: friends Bryan Kullman, Kevin Johnson and Nick Bailey smile as they get ready to participate in the many events at the Night to ShineProm Friday evening. The men had the opportunity to watch videos, play games, sing karaoke, take a limosene ride and dance before becoming crowened a king at the prom. The three friends have known each other for several years as the participate in the Special Olympics and play basketball together.


Volunteer Sarah Nail and her guest for the Night to Shine Prom, Kendal Shewmaker, pose for their picture Friday night. The duo ate dinner and spent the evening on the dance floor at the event hosted at the Celebration Center. The duo discovered they shared a love of sports during their conversations at the prom. Event organizer said the planners are already looking forward to hosting the event again next year after the happiness it brought to the guests and volunteers who attended this year’s prom.


By Hope Lecchi

[email protected]

Ruth Dale, left, and Jason Younger dance to “YMCA”’ by the Village People on Friday evening at the Night to Shine Prom hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation at the Celebration Center. Locally 98 guests attended the event with 225 volunteers who helped them have a special night of fun. Dale who was a volunteer said it was a wonderful way to make someone else feel special and loved and that she was thrilled to be a part of the event.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_tsd021516prom1.jpgRuth Dale, left, and Jason Younger dance to “YMCA”’ by the Village People on Friday evening at the Night to Shine Prom hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation at the Celebration Center. Locally 98 guests attended the event with 225 volunteers who helped them have a special night of fun. Dale who was a volunteer said it was a wonderful way to make someone else feel special and loved and that she was thrilled to be a part of the event.

Lakota Wiskur, left, and Noah Adams get ready to play a Wheel of Fortune game at the Night to Shine Prom hosted at the Celebration Center Friday night from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. Wiskur said she wanted to volunteer at the event in remembrance of her uncle who had Down Syndrome and died while she was on a mission trip to Haiti. Friday’s prom was a way to honor him and help others to realize how special they were to others she added. Each guest were paired with a volunteer chaperone for a night of dinner, games, music and dancing.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_tsd02156prom2.jpgLakota Wiskur, left, and Noah Adams get ready to play a Wheel of Fortune game at the Night to Shine Prom hosted at the Celebration Center Friday night from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. Wiskur said she wanted to volunteer at the event in remembrance of her uncle who had Down Syndrome and died while she was on a mission trip to Haiti. Friday’s prom was a way to honor him and help others to realize how special they were to others she added. Each guest were paired with a volunteer chaperone for a night of dinner, games, music and dancing.

Melanie Nau a guest at the Night to Shine Prom hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation Friday night at the Celebration Center share a smile with her chaperone for the event, Savana Pritchey. Pritchey is a nursing student at State Fair Community College who said she was told of the event by one of her teachers and decided she who like to attend to help others. Both ladies said the evening was exciting. Ninety eight guests were registered to attend the prom which took place in 48 states and seven countries throughout the world simultaneously Friday evening.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_tsd021516prom3.jpgMelanie Nau a guest at the Night to Shine Prom hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation Friday night at the Celebration Center share a smile with her chaperone for the event, Savana Pritchey. Pritchey is a nursing student at State Fair Community College who said she was told of the event by one of her teachers and decided she who like to attend to help others. Both ladies said the evening was exciting. Ninety eight guests were registered to attend the prom which took place in 48 states and seven countries throughout the world simultaneously Friday evening.

From left: friends Bryan Kullman, Kevin Johnson and Nick Bailey smile as they get ready to participate in the many events at the Night to ShineProm Friday evening. The men had the opportunity to watch videos, play games, sing karaoke, take a limosene ride and dance before becoming crowened a king at the prom. The three friends have known each other for several years as the participate in the Special Olympics and play basketball together.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_tsd021516prom4.jpgFrom left: friends Bryan Kullman, Kevin Johnson and Nick Bailey smile as they get ready to participate in the many events at the Night to ShineProm Friday evening. The men had the opportunity to watch videos, play games, sing karaoke, take a limosene ride and dance before becoming crowened a king at the prom. The three friends have known each other for several years as the participate in the Special Olympics and play basketball together.

Volunteer Sarah Nail and her guest for the Night to Shine Prom, Kendal Shewmaker, pose for their picture Friday night. The duo ate dinner and spent the evening on the dance floor at the event hosted at the Celebration Center. The duo discovered they shared a love of sports during their conversations at the prom. Event organizer said the planners are already looking forward to hosting the event again next year after the happiness it brought to the guests and volunteers who attended this year’s prom.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_tsd021516prom5.jpgVolunteer Sarah Nail and her guest for the Night to Shine Prom, Kendal Shewmaker, pose for their picture Friday night. The duo ate dinner and spent the evening on the dance floor at the event hosted at the Celebration Center. The duo discovered they shared a love of sports during their conversations at the prom. Event organizer said the planners are already looking forward to hosting the event again next year after the happiness it brought to the guests and volunteers who attended this year’s prom.

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

Sedalia Democrat

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484

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