SALEM, Va (WFXR) — Grab a tux or dress, and don’t forget to lace up those dancing shoes! Happening worldwide on Friday, Feb. 10 is a special prom for people with unique challenges.
In just a few hours, the gym at Fellowship Community Church will be transformed.
“A dance ballroom in here, dressing up in like dresses and tux,” shared Ashlynn Moore, a participant at Night to Shine.
Ashlynn Moore, 23-year-old is talking about getting dressed up for the prom. A night that she and her friends can shine.
“When I walk the red carpet, my church cheers me on,” exclaimed Benjamin Ratliff, a participant at Night to Shine.
From red carpets to limo rides, and so much more are some of the tools used to create an unforgettable prom experience for people with special needs and disabilities all sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.
“I enjoy it just as much as she does. We are both as excited as we’ve ever been,” said Karen Switzer, Ashlynn’s Grandmother.
The air is electric while enjoying prom night.
“I was happy and excited, and I’m just blessed to have people in my life,” said Moore.
People like Ashlynn’s Grandmother and guardian, Karen Switzer.
“It’s just humbling,” said Switzer.
Prom is often seen as a rite of passage, and a journey that some get to experience, but for Friday night, everyone is treated like royalty.
“At the very end, the dance will announce everybody’s name individually and they’ll crown either king or queen of the proms. So everybody will be celebrated in that way,” said Patrice Smelser, Night to shine of Roanoke planning team member.
It’s a labor of love to put a prom like this together.
“Right now we’re well over a thousand volunteers,” said Smelser.
Volunteers like Robynn James.
I’m the DJ,” said Robynn James. “I get to do the jam.”
The prom is free for the kings and queens of the night.
For less than a decade people across the Roanoke Valley donate their time for the special occasion.
“It sounds like something simple to stand on the red carpet and all we want you to do is clap when these kids go by, but when you see their faces and the expression,” share James.
“It’s just so awesome to see people cheering for me on the red carpet,” said Moore.
If you want to volunteer or participate in Night to Shine, click here.