A NIGHT TO SHINE Two years ago I came across the Tim Tebow Foundation. It was right before the foundation had their first annual Night to Shine prom for people with special needs. I knew that I had to attend. I made the two and a half hour drive to the closest church that was hosting one of the proms, where I knew not one person. I’ll admit that I was nervous and scared going somewhere by myself, but I also knew this night wasn’t about me. It was about all the prom goers that would soon be arriving on the red carpet. One year later I recruited my sister to tag along with me to a different church. By the second year, the number of churches that had become hosts for the event had doubled the number from the first year. Although we didn’t know anyone at this church other than ourselves, I was still beyond excited to attend!This year was no different. I had been researching potential churches in the area before I moved to Charleston, just to see if there would be something near my new location. I found a church that was actually a quick, less than ten-mile drive from my office. While this church was quite larger than the previous churches I volunteered at, my excitement was the same. February 10 finally came. Prom night. Like the year before, I recruited my sister to also be a volunteer. She made the ten hour drive, arriving in Charleston two hours before we had to arrive at the church, what commitment! After leaving work, we arrived just in time to be split into groups, take our spot on the red carpet, and put on our paparazzi hats. Every volunteer wore multiples hats that evening. Paparazzi, professional dancers and singers, and most importantly- buddies. We lined the red carpet as our prom goers started to arrive. Everyone was dressed to a T in three-piece suits, crowns, jewels and sequins. We even had Elvis in attendance. Since the church I was buddying at also had an event for children 16 and under, even the little ones were dressed in their ties and fancy dresses.  We’d been greeting guests for about twenty minutes when I spotted the cutest man in a red sweater dancing on the carpet. I’m pretty sure he was even moving it like Bern, my ultimate go-to dance move. As he made his way down the carpet, I could see the excitement on his face when he abruptly stopped beside my sister and held out his arm ready to escort her. He had claimed her as his date for the night! My sister went off to the dance leaving me to hang with my fellow paparazzi friends. A little while later it got darker and colder and I started to wonder if I would become a buddy with someone or not, when next thing I knew I was being paired up with someone. This sweet little blonde was by my side in a cute black dress and sparkly silver flats. When we arrived inside I was instructed that we’d also be hanging out with her best friend and her fellow buddy. The four of us headed off to dinner. The girls chowed down on barbeque while we had a surprise visit from some Disney princesses. After dinner, we hit the dance floor. The girls were hilarious! Always high fiving and doing funny dances. Apparently my dance moves weren’t as cool because I was old! (hehe) When One Direction’s "Best Song Ever" came on, I thought they were going to go crazy. They both started squealing and singing as loud as possible. (not saying I wasn’t doing the same!) The girls loved 1D- especially Harry and Zayn. Earlier in the evening we tried to convince them into doing karaoke, but neither were having it. After 1D played, I think we were slyly able to talk them into singing another song in front of people. So the four of us headed off to the karaoke room! We waited in line listening to others sing songs like “I Got You Babe” “Let It Go” and “Sweet Home Alabama”. Finally it was the girls turn to sing their pick- “Drag Me Down” by 1D. In addition to knowing all the words, they also had some dance moves incorporated into their performance, including a DAB at the end of the song. Another move of mine. Before our night ended, we watched some more friends sing karaoke, popped into the photo booth for some candid shots (the girls threw up the peace signs of course), and we even hit up the main dance floor to bust out some moves. By this time my sister had found us and the girls had ran into some of their friends from the church. Our dance squad grew in numbers! I think the girls started to get embarrassed when I started doing the robot (another old people move). By this time the parentals had arrived and it was time to say our goodbyes. We took more selfies together, did some bro-hugs, and as the girls would say it “peaced out”. Like the previous years, I’m always so thankful to attend events like this and help make someone’s evening that more special. Who knows where I’ll be for next year’s Night To Shine! Every year just keeps getting better and better!         

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