The Lakeway Area will join a worldwide celebration on Feb. 7, when volunteers converge at Morristown church to offer an unforgettable prom night experience — Night to Shine — for people with special needs, ages 14 and older.
This year marks the sixth anniversary for the event hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation.
Around the globe, the effort takes hundreds of thousands of volunteers to facilitate the simultaneous celebrations. In 2018, more than 650 churches participated in Night to Shine. This year, 14 churches in Tennessee are participating.
This year marks the inaugural hosting of the event by Arrowhead Church in Morristown.
Local business owner and church member John Smyth is spearheading the planning; activites during the three-hour celebration, to be held from 6 to 9 p.m., will include red carpet arrivals by limousine at the front doors of the church, featuring a paparazzi team.
“We will have a nice spread of food, music with a DJ, dancing and karaoke,” Smyth said.
For those guests who might become overwhelmed with the activities, the church will offer a tranquility room, designed to offer a calming respite.
Those who attend will also be treated to pre-celebration activities, including styling and makeup assistance by Belk associates.
A short worship service will be included as part of the evening and at 8 p.m., Tim Tebow will broadcast a presentation live to all the churches that participate, followed by an official prom-style crown presentation by host churches to all of the guests.
As part of his insurance business, Smyth works with a number of agencies that serve the disabled population and became aware of the event while attending a meeting in west Tennessee. He approached Arrowhead pastor Ben Shoun with the idea of hosting a local prom.
“Ben said ‘take it and run with it,’” Smyth said. “And our church members have really stepped up to help with it. A lot of people are donating their time, and business owners are donating items.”
According to Smyth, the church facility can accommodate around 250 guests, in addition to individuals who may need to accompany them. He is in the process of contacting agencies — ALPS Adult Day Services and Lakeway Achievement Center have already signed on to participate.
“We really want to get the word out, especially to our high school’s special needs students,” Smyth said.
Smyth is known to be a work-a-holic, but a life event in 2018 changed his priorities. He was involved in an automobile accident that included the vehicle rolling five times. He has since fully recovered, and said he feels blessed to have not been more seriously injured.
“After that, I started looking at life differently,” he said. “I thought, ‘I need to do more things that are for good causes.’”
For more information about volunteering, or to register, visit https://arrowhead.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/313739.