The annual Night to Shine event is one of the most fun things I participate in every year! For the past 2 years I have been the photography coordinator for our Champaign event, and I have to say this one was the best yet! (I also was a volunteer photographer at the first event 3 years ago).
We roll out the red carpet for members of our community with special needs, and these special guests are treated to the works! They get to experience paparazzi as they enter through a twinkle-lit red carpeted hallway, then they can choose to get hair, makeup, and nails done or shoe shines for the guys. There is an official Night to Shine step-n-repeat backdrop where they can have a portrait taken, as well as grab a corsage or boutonniere. Inside the main auditorium, they get to enjoy dinner with their assigned “buddy” and dance the night away with music provided by a DJ (emcees courtesy of WBGL radio). This year there were also two photobooth options for guests to use, complete with lots of fun props and printed photos on the spot! The karaoke room is another fun attraction as well as limo rides, a goodie bag, and cupcakes for dessert. There is a respite room for anyone needing to take a break, a separate room for caregivers to rest and relax, and medical staff on site in case of emergencies.
The very best part of the night is the crowning ceremony, where each guest is announced and crowned as king or queen. Immediately following that, there is a special video message from Tim Tebow that is shown before everyone is dismissed.
To get involved in next year’s event, follow First Church Church of Champaign on Facebook, or contact the church directly to be put on the volunteer list.