Night to Shine seeking drive-thru volunteersJanuary 27, 2021
By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
JASPER — Instead of walking the red carpet at Redemption Christian Church this year, Night to Shine participants will be driven like royalty through a drive-thru celebration.
Founded by the Tim Tebow Foundation, Night to Shine is a prom-like experience for people ages 14 and up with special needs. Since the program began in 2015, it has served hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities throughout the world, according to a January press release.
For the past five years, Redemption Christian Church has been a local host for the national celebration.
For the first time in the event’s history, though, celebrations will be held virtually and through drive-thru celebrations to keep participants safe during the pandemic.
"We simply could not put them in a position where their health was at increased risk,” Tebow said in the release. “We may not be gathered in person, but there is still an incredible opportunity to love, honor, and celebrate our friends worldwide."
Nearly 500 churches in 33 countries have volunteered to be local hosts for the celebrations, including the church in Jasper.
Campus Minister Ryan Stiles said Redemption plans to have its drive-thru celebration, called Shine-Thru, on Feb. 12.
Stiles said the church wants plenty of volunteers to line the parking lot so participants can still feel like it’s a special night.
“That way, the participants can still get out of the house and still feel like kings and queens, although the turnout will probably be quite a bit different,” Stiles said. “Each year, this is the most fun and the most heartwarming thing we do, so it’s a bit disheartening to have to do it like this … but we’re just happy to be able to do something.”
The Shine-Thru will include gifts and photo opportunities, and participants will also receive a link to a pre-recorded production with messages from celebrities, singing, dancing and the official crowning ceremony that will begin at 6 p.m.
Those looking to support the event are encouraged to register to become a volunteer for the Shine-Thru, Stiles said. Both volunteers and participants can be registered at redemptionin.com/register.
Anyone with additional questions can reach out to Stiles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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