‘Twas a Night to Shine

Photos by Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
The third annual Night To Shine started Friday afternoon at Redemption Christian Church in Jasper with ladies arriving early to get their hair and make-up done. The Tim Tebow Foundation sponsors the prom-like event for people with special needs, which includes a limousine ride, dinner, dancing, karaoke and a photo booth. Jenelle Oser of Huntingburg did the last touch ups on Santa Claus resident Kristan Tomey's hair. For more photos from the event, click here.


JASPER — Beautiful and ready to dance, Dylene Garland of Jasper waited eagerly to shine hours before she would exit her limousine, walk through a crowd of clapping onlookers and party, party, party.

Redemption Christian Church in Jasper hosted its third annual Night to Shine on Friday, which is a Christian-centered, prom-night experience sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation for people with special needs who are 14 and older. Nearly 200 attendees were treated to limousine rides, dinner, and a night of fun and dancing — all free of charge. All guests also received king and queen crowns as part of the event.

“I’m going to have fun,” Garland said as she thought about putting on her crown later that night. “It makes me feel really good.”

And hours before the festivities began, some of the event’s 340 volunteers were already busy dolling up their VIPs. Participants all had the opportunity to get their makeup, hair and nails done by area experts in a makeshift salon set up in the church prior to the bash. Many took advantage of it.

Tomee Sue Bunner of Cannelton, left, accompanied Cristi Denning of St. Meinrad as she high-fived people during her grand entrance at the start of the dance. For more photos from the event, click here.

“It’s much more rewarding than just doing the everyday stuff,” said Night to Shine salon coordinator Cassie Self, who has volunteered at the event each year and also owns Head to Toe Salon in French Lick. “We make people look good and they’re all happy, but these guys are just so excited.”

Seven hairdressers, four nail technicians and two makeup artists were part of the on-site salon. Many of the volunteers work at or own their own salon, meaning their donations to the evening were professional skills.

Ashley Lueken, a Redemption member and hair stylist at Shades Hair & Nail Studio in Jasper, gave her talents to the event for the third straight year. She said the Night to Shine highlights God’s love.

“A lot of the ladies that come up here (to the salon), this is a one-time event for them,” she said. “They come up here, they get pampered, they get to feel beautiful — even though they’re already beautiful. But this is just something a little extra special for them.”

The night is organized on a global level by the Tim Tebow Foundation. According to information on the organization’s website, more than 540 churches around the world hosted Night to Shine Friday night for approximately 90,000 honored guests through the support of 175,000 volunteers.

Kim Pledger of Lamar, left, her sister Susan Bosley of Santa Claus and their cousin Amber Horney and her son Trevor Berg, 12, both of St. Anthony came to the Night to Shine to see their uncle Stevie Pierrard of St. Croix during the dance. Pierrard enjoys the dancing but likes the karaoke best. For more photos from the event, click here.

In addition to the salon volunteers, church and community members also volunteered with the food service, event registration, escorting participants to and from the limos, and more.

All participants also had a buddy volunteer who hung out with them for the duration of the event.

Rose Terwiske reflected on the many positive aspects of the experience as her daughter, Stephanie, waited to have her makeup applied at the salon.

Rose said the night is good for the guests’ self-esteem and good for the parents, as well.

“Each year it just gets better and better, which is kind of cool,” Rose said.

Nick Winger of Paoli, left, danced with Alissa Sage of French Lick during the third annual Night To Shine Friday evening at Redemption Christian Church in Jasper. For more photos from the event, click here.

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