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Special needs children, adults enjoy prom at ‘Night to Shine’

A local church is working with the Tim Tebow Foundation to give special needs children and adults a night they won't soon forget.

In a few months, high school students will be celebrating prom. Friday night in Moundsville, special needs students and adults got a head start with a special night of their own.

“Everyone deserves a night to shine and that's what we want to offer,” said Michael Piekarski, Bowman United Methodist Church pastor.

Date?...check.

Pictures?..check.

Limo ride?...check.

Dancing?

You bet!

It’s everything for the perfect prom. By working with the Tim Tebow Foundation, Bowman United Methodist Church hosted Night to Shine, a prom for those with special needs.

It’s a program that is growing every year around the world.

“God laid it on my heart to become involved,” said Kristi Crawford, event coordinator. “I saw there were none in the state of West Virginia and I wanted to show what the valley could do. So that was part of the reasoning behind it. Also, to get younger people involved."

Volunteers included the Wheeling Jesuit baseball team, West Liberty students and others from the area. They led their new friends around the Moundsville training center to dinner, dancing and more.

For them, seeing the reactions of the guests makes the event extra enjoyable.

“When they come down the runway, red carpet, get their picture taken, they have the big smiles on their face,” said Rick Hyett, volunteer. “So happy to be a part of it.”

“I have a brother back home with disabilities and I know how tough it can be sometimes,” said Tristan Grimes, volunteer. “Seeing them have fun and just smiling is awesome."

The smiles lasted all night.

“I'm having a lot of fun tonight,” said James Coss, guest.

“Just a night of an unforgettable prom night that is focused on God's love for those with special needs,” Crawford said.

This is the second year Moundsville has hosted Night to Shine and there are already plans in place for next year.

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