2021 "Night To Shine" Shined God's Love Brightly Despite COVID-19
Monday, February 22 2021 by Richard Hunt/Kimberly McLaughlin
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Even a global pandemic could not stop the worldwide movement known as Night to Shine, now celebrating its 7th year of loving, honoring, and serving individuals with special needs. Hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation and supported by the efforts of hundreds of host churches and thousands of volunteers across the globe, this year’s event was every bit as inspiring and life-changing as years past, despite its move to virtual and socially distanced formats in light of COVID-19.
“In a season when so many events and activities have been canceled, we knew we could not cancel Night to Shine. God’s love, His heart for humanity, and the hope we have in His Son can never be canceled,” shared Founder Tim Tebow. “I believe thousands of individuals worldwide were impacted by the celebration of last week – individuals who have faced so many unique challenges over the last year. They needed the reminder that not only are they loved by us, but they are also loved by the very One who created them in His image.”
From coast to coast across the United States, and in 32 countries around the world, thousands of honored guests participated in this year’s celebration through socially distant versions of the event, most notably Shine-Thru, a drive-thru adaptation of a typical Night to Shine. By featuring many of the evening’s most traditional elements such as a red-carpet arrival, volunteers to decorate the vehicles, music, dancing, special appearances by characters and local celebrities, and more, Shine-Thru served as the primary solution to many churches’ desire to do something more than just a virtual gathering. Other churches found even more ways to celebrate their honored guests such as using contactless delivery to drop off gift baskets door-to-door and decorating their front yards in honor of the participants inside.
In addition to Shine-Thru, the marquee event of this year’s version of Night to Shine available to every person with special needs around the world was a virtual experience in the form of a 40-minute immersive video. Hosted by Tim and Demi Tebow, the digital experience was filled with celebrity messages from entertainers and athletes including Carrie Underwood, Alex Rodriguez, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Charles Barkley, Sadie Robertson Huff, Tori Kelly, and Harry Connick, Jr, among others. In between the messages were opportunities for dancing and karaoke, a Gospel message, and the highlight of every Night to Shine – the moment where Tim crowned each and every honored guest the king or the queen of the prom.
“As we began to think and pray about possible alternatives to a traditional Night to Shine, we realized that this was the year to actually go above and beyond what has normally been done,” Foundation President Steve Biondo added. “These image-bearers, these precious children of God, are so worth fighting for. That truth is the entire foundation of our ministry, and nowhere else is that concept displayed more prominently than at Night to Shine. To that end, canceling the event in its entirety was simply never an option.”
Though travel looked different this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Tim Tebow, along with his wife, Demi, still personally attended three Shine-Thru events. Beginning in Tucson, Arizona, the couple first spent a few hours at Journey Church, and then made their way to Las Vegas, Nevada, where they made additional surprise stops at The Crossing, a Christian Church, and Canyon Ridge Christian Church. Each stop included multiple opportunities for safely interacting with the honored guests and volunteers, cheering along the red carpet, decorating the vehicles in which the guests rode, and spending time encouraging and praying with the event coordinators and pastors at the host churches.
For the 5th consecutive year, Night to Shine was made possible through the support of longtime official Global Partner American Residential Services, along with countless local vendors, businesses, and organizations in communities around the world. “It’s an honor to be a part of such an incredible event that shares such joy, value, and worth with people who are affected by disability,” shared Dave Slott, CEO, American Residential Services. “We are pleased that ARS’s Global Partner sponsorship of Night to Shine allows us to deepen our corporate commitment to the community while being a catalyst to seeing this worldwide movement continue to advance and celebrate more Kings & Queens.”
With plans for the 2022 event already in mind, the Foundation anticipates support to increase as awareness rises regarding the pandemic’s continuing impact upon those with special needs. To learn more about Night to Shine or the Tim Tebow Foundation, or to become a supporter of the movement, please visit www.timtebowfoundation.org.
In the meantime, we invite you to view the Official Worldwide Highlight Video for a look at how even a global pandemic could not stop the ongoing movement to recognize and honor all individuals as beloved children of God.
About Night to Shine: Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. This event has generated worldwide interest, and may one day change Valentine’s Day weekend from just a celebration of love to a celebration of God’s love for all of His kings and queens.
About Tim Tebow Foundation: The Tim Tebow Foundation exists 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 seven main areas of outreach in the fields of Orphan Care + Prevention, Special Needs and Children with Profound Medical Needs. To learn more about how the Tim Tebow Foundation is serving children and sharing God’s love by fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves, visit www.timtebowfoundation.org.
About American Residential Services (ARS/Rescue Rooter): Based in Memphis, Tenn., privately-owned ARS operates a network of more than 70 locally-managed service centers in 24 states, with approximately 6,500 employees. The ARS Network features industry-leading brands including, 4 Eco Services, A.J. Perri, Aksarben ARS, Allgood, Andy's Statewide, ARS, Aspen Air Conditioning, Atlas Trillo, Beutler, Blue Apple Electric, Blue Dot, Blue Flame, Bob Hamilton, Brothers, Columbus Worthington Air, Comfort Heating & Air, Conway Services, DM Select, Florida Home Air Conditioning, Green Star Home Services, Hauser Heating & Air Conditioning, McCarthy Services, Rescue Rooter / Jack Howk, Rescue Rooter, RighTime Home Services, RS Andrews, TempRite Air Conditioning and Heating, Unique Services, "Will" Fix It, and Yes! Air Conditioning and Plumbing. As an Exceptional Service Provider, the ARS Network serves both residential and light commercial customers by providing heating, cooling, indoor air quality, plumbing, drain cleaning, sewer line, radiant barrier, insulation, and ventilation services. www.ars.com