Stories

Night To Shine 2019 – when we ALL shined our brightest!

Oh the joy of being snowed in, sipping a steaming cup of coffee, and reflecting on Night To Shine on Feb 8th 2019! As I look at the pictures and videos from the event I’m grateful for the many miracles that transpired in the making of this beautiful evening… 

Night To Shine is a prom for individuals with special needs, created by The Tim Tebow Foundation, hosted by local churches across the globe. Crossbridge Community Church hosted our event in Cinnaminson NJ, at The Merion. The fact that we had an unforeseen issue with the original venue and ended up being able to host the event at the absolutely beautiful Merion is it’s own miracle!

As is the fact that a massive task force of 275+ volunteers came together with the Crossbridge CC’s leadership to create, participate, and celebrate this evening. Crossbridge CC hosted our event and they brought together an A Team! Our CBDP team members, Sheetal and Hetal sum it up so eloquently :

“The video from Crossbridge was AMAZING!!! I watched it 3x today! The whole event – what it stands for, the organization & teams that made the dream a reality, the volunteers, the leadership, all amazing & loving people that created & carried out N2S – Kudos to all of them!” – Sheetal Parikh

“Yes! And their photography is beautifully detailed… the guests, their emotions. They are so talented at what they do, and they do it all seamlessly with a smile!” – Hetal Parekh-Olmedo

Last year our CBDP team’s role was focused on creating a fun and relaxing experience for the parents and caregivers. See below for some pictures from last year’s event.

 

This year, in addition to dancing with the 200+ parents & caregivers, we got to dance with our Prom Guests, over 130 of them, from teenagers to seniors! The feedback we had received from last year’s event was that the Prom Guests were mesmerized by our beautiful Bollywood costumes! (some met us in person while others saw a video of us dancing).

This wasn’t really stretching the truth at all! When my team and I entered the Prom ballroom and walked around to meet and dance with all the Prom Guests, we were greeted with huge smiles and so much love!

I have never felt more like a Bollywood/Disney princess! In some cases the Guests ditched their buddies (volunteer partners) to dance with us! Sorry, not sorry! :)))

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Some guests were shy, some were eventually tired from all the dancing, and some were soaking it all in quietly. Then there were some who were bringing the house down with their big dance moves!!! And when our awesome DJ, Marc Maiolino put on some Bollywood dance songs on request, we had a blast dancing together!

Our theme for the night was “Befikra” which means “to be carefree”.

Keeping to our tradition of doing a tribute dance to our Guests, we danced to a Bollywood song called “Befikra” with the parents first, and later with the real “befikras” of the night, our Prom Guests… the ones who show us everyday what it means to be present and carefree!❤️

 

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From left to right: Hetal, Sheetal, Swati, Mittal, Vibha, Keerti

My CBDP team is a group of beautiful women who worked hard to be in service of others to make them feel like royalty on their Prom day! Here’s how Mittal describes it:

“Night to Shine is very close to my heart. It makes me feel like I have done something for myself. I love seeing the smiles on each and every face. It’s just so wonderful to be there” – Mittal Patel

“Experiencing the communal feeling of happiness and joy brought on by music and dance to these special people is quite indescribable. The energy in the room was electric!
And meeting the Philly Phanatic made my heart extra happy! 😂. ⠀⠀
Very grateful to Swati & CBDP for involving me in this wonderful, fun night of celebration!” – Vibha Misty

 

I am amazed at how the community came together with the sole purpose of making our Prom Guests feel truly special; to make them feel like Prom Kings & Queens… every single one of them!

In serving others, I believe we all shined our brightest that night! And this picture of our Director, Jeanine Robbins, sums up how we all felt that night! ❤️

Jeanine-N2S

 

See below for the highlights video of this night centered on ‘love’.

 

*Photo credit to our A team: Abby Lynn, Bethany Purdue, Marissa McGovern, Desiree Miller, Kristen Nicotra, Julie Willson
**Video credit: Sharon Schwertly and TJ Laury

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