Community Programs, Stories

Night To Shine – A Prom that is changing lives!

It has been a month since Night to Shine 2018 and looking back I’m so grateful to have been part of a project with so much heart!

In late 2017 when my dear friend Jeanine had first invited CBDP to contribute towards a prom for individuals with special needs, it was an immediate “Yes!” But I had NO idea how big this was! Here is an excerpt from the foundation’s website:

The Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older.

On one night, on February 9, 2018, 537 churches from around the world came together to host Night to Shine for approximately 90,000 honored guests through the support of 175,000 volunteers!

 

This was the first year Crossbridge Community Church was hosting Night to Shine. 270+ volunteers had signed up to donate their time, energy and skills to create an array of experiences for the prom Guests. Everything from prom outfits, floral accessories, hair & makeup stations, and shoe shine stations were arranged by volunteers. The ball room was beautifully decorated, a photo booth set up; security and medical teams in place and all details meticulously planned out!

Upon arrival our Guests walked down the red carpet to cheer and applause! They enjoyed a night of singing, dancing and a lot of fun activities!

Check out this stunning event highlights video! 

 

While Night to Shine is all about the Guests, the Crossbridge team recognized it as an opportunity to create a fun evening for all the parents & caregivers; which is why they roped in CBDP!

During the first board meeting with the Crossbridge team I had shared my vision for a Bollywood dance tribute for the prom Guests on behalf of their parents and caregivers. The idea was for the parents to learn, and then perform the dance with us; to a meaningful Bollywood song that celebrates their love and special bond!

Over the next few days we expanded upon this vision to create a night of experiential entertainment in the parent respite room!

On prom day the Guests walked down the red carpet towards the ballroom after which the parents & caregivers were warmly greeted into the respite room with a traditional Indian welcome:
Once settled, they had an opportunity to mingle and enjoy a relaxed dinner.

 

About halfway through the evening we all watched the crowning ceremony streamed live from the ballroom; every Guest was crowned a prom King or Queen! ❤️

 Shortly thereafter, the Bollywood entertainment segment kicked off showcasing different dance styles from India as the audience joyously cheered us on! 🙂

Photo credits: Thank you Abby Lynn Photography!

 

… and then it was time for the much anticipated Bollywood dance tribute…

I introduced the song and the meaningful lyrics, followed by a ‘demo performance’ and the interactive audience dance workshop.

Check out this amazing Bollywood dance tribute video put together by Sharon Schwertly!

 

Parent Workshop - Group Namaste
Within 15-20 mins our group was ‘performance ready!’

Thanks to Sharon and her team, the prom Kings and Queens watched this tribute dance performance in the ballroom; which Jimmy told me later was practically the only time the entire room stood still, glued to the screen…

Jimmy said that the Guests were so excited to see their parents on the big screen; dancing together to a song honoring them, loving them, celebrating them! ❤️

While dancing was the highlight of the evening, we had some more curated experiences for them to explore:

Here are some sweet moments from the photo booth 🙂

A shout out to Suzanne and Kate for your help setting this up for us! 🙂

 

Our henna station was quite popular too 🙂

As the evening drew to a close we had some Guest visitors wanting to say hello 🙂
GuestVisitor
A photo-op with one of our prom Kings 🙂

 

It wasn’t until later that night that the enormity of this event’s success began to register. The community had pulled together to create a MAGICAL prom night!

 

Group-with Jeanine Scott
Thank you Jeanine and Scott Robbins for believing in us and making CBDP a part of this beautiful prom night!

Credits:

Videography: Sharon Schwertly, the host of Soldiers of Faith TV 
Photography: Abby Lynn and her amazing team of professional photographers
Photo booth decorations: Suzanne Torpey, Kate Sedon
Bollywood Song Credit: “Jaane Kyun” (Movie – Dostana)
Tavro Thirteen And The Red Hen: Thank you for your generous offer for all the Night to Shine volunteers!
Parents & Caregivers, i.e. our respite room guests –  I’m grateful to all of you who participated in the Bollywood dance tribute, as well as, to all of you who cheered us on from the sidelines! ❤️
The CBDP Team: Swati Chaturvedi, Sheetal Parikh, Jasbeer Banga, Mittal Patel, Keerti Thalayur, Hetal Parekh – thank you for all your hard work, ladies!
The amazing Crossbridge Community Church team! – Jimmy Donaruma, Jeanine Robbins, Danielle Cordery, Scott Robbins, Betsy Knebels, Abby Steurer, Sharon Schwertly, Suzanne Torpey, Kate Sedon, Wil Del Valle, Amy Kline, Heather Scheckner, Priscilla Racke, Mary Lou Pluta, Liz Orr, Mike Orr, team Salon Bridgette, and many MANY more!

 

Sometimes miracles are just good people with kind hearts ❤️

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