MEDFORD, Ore. – Southern Oregon’s highly anticipated red carpet event Friday night at First Baptist Church. Night to Shine in Medford brought in over 600 people.
Night to Shine was hosted this year by Grace Point Fellowship and Inclusion Works. It is a complementary event for people with special needs ages 14 and up. We spoke to some of the VIP guests at the dance,
“It is really pretty in there and I can’t wait to get in.” said one guest.
The event was created by Tim Tebow back in 2015 as a way to give a memorable night to kids with special needs. Now it has grown into an event hosted by churches around the world. Lead Pastor for Grace Point Fellowship, Josh Davis, told me the church got involved a few years back.
“We’ve got some connections with some people that are part of the special needs community and and our church has grabbed hold of it. They love being part of it,” said Pastor Davis.
Night to Shine gathers many volunteers, including local businesses that provide funding and catering. He says events like these show how much people care about the special needs community.
Pastor Davis said, “Watching these communities, businesses, rally around and invest in a community that’s often overlooked. A community of people that don’t have all the attention at times. And the businesses look and see the importance of it, and they’re investing.”
Not only do local businesses do their part, but first responders as well.
We’ve got Mercy Flights is here, the sheriff’s department, police department. There’s so many layers to what takes place here and obviously providing safety for these individuals because there are special needs and each circumstance is a little bit unique.
For a lot of people. They’ve never seen an event like this before.
“It’s my first year so I’m kinda excited, linda nervous at the same time,” shared a guest.
Another guest said, “I’m really excited to be here. It’s my first time here. I’ve never been to a dance like this before.”
Party goers were able to ride in a limo, walk a red carpet, dance to their heart’s content, and walk away with a swag bag and a crown or tiara. Some guests knew instantly what they were most excited about.
“I’m really looking forward to dancing and having fun,” shared a guest.
“Dancing,” said another guest.
“Dancing and all that. So I cannot wait,” exclaimed an other guest.
While a lot of folks were looking forward to getting their groove on, a lot of people were looking forward to getting something to eat.
A guest agreed saying, “That’s it.”
“I’m just gonna sit in eat and watch them do the dance,” said another guest.
Last year the Night to Shine event had close to 200 people attend. Davis says they were so excited that that number tripled for this year’s event.
“One of the reasons why I love being here is because I love watching just the sheer joy and the authenticity of freedom of expression that the special needs community has. They don’t have any walls built. They come in and they just are who they are and they enjoy it,” commented Pastor Davis.
Davis says he was just awe to see so many people submit their time to create incredible memories for those with special needs and their families and friends. He says next year they’re hoping to expand the event into Josephine County as well.
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