HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) –Dozens of individuals with special needs looked fabulous in formal attire as they exited stretch limousines, walked the red carpet, and danced the night away at the Hackettstown area “Night to Shine.”
The prom event was created by former NFL quarterback and current professional baseball player, Tim Tebow.
It is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, which focuses on showing God’s love for thousands of people with special needs at locations around the world.
Over 100,000 honored guests across the globe will be crowned prom kings and queens, including the dozens that gathered at Centenary University in Hackettstown.
The event was coordinated again this year by 16-year-old Emily Valentino, her mother Lisa Valentino and their local parish, Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary in Hackettstown.
“I had a lot of help this year from my committee, my mom, and my dad,” explains Emily. “And it’s crazy to think that I can even put all of this on, but really it’s God working through me.”
“I’m so proud of my daughter,” says Lisa Valentino. “And in a world, where it seems like so many people are against each other, this is a night where everybody comes in with smiles on their face. They’re full of love. I think it’s nights like this that change the world.
It’s also the first time many of the attendees are able to experience going to the prom.
“I totally love it, and I can’t believe it,” said prom queen, Katie Carrigan, while heading to the dance floor in her beautiful royal blue dress. Carrigan also says there’s another highlight to the night – besides doing the disco. “I’m really excited because I get to even go on a limo ride!”
When asked about inspiring others to host Night to Shine events, Emily Valentino says, “Always listen to what you’re called to do. Follow your heart. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”
This marks the Night to Shine’s 5th anniversary, with close to 700 churches and 200,000 volunteers participating worldwide.