LAST FRIDAY’S Night To Shine at Hutchins Street Square was beyond words. Over 175 special-needs "guests" were celebrated with a prom-style event that began with a limo ride and a walk (or wheelchair ride) down the red carpet. Each guest had a "Buddy" for the evening. The Tim Tebow Foundation coordinated 655 events last Friday night taking place in all 50 states and 24 different countries. In Lodi, my church (Horizon Church) spearheaded the event, with many volunteers and contributors from throughout the community. We actually had more volunteers than we needed! Over 400 volunteers stepped up and handled everything from makeup and makeovers and prom gowns and suits to parking attendants (in the rain!) to the Red Carpet experience, karaoke, a full meal for caregivers in the Respite Room, a photo booth, the dance floor and music, security, a Quiet Room for guests who needed a little space, setup team, cleanup team, even a shoeshine team! Laughter, tears, and lots of love. Check out #NightToShineNorCal and #TimTebowFoundation for more information and photos/videos of this amazing event.

WE’VE ALREADY BOOKED Hutchins Street Square for next year’s Night To Shine. Want to get in on the fun and volunteer? You can email nts@horizonweb.org to connect with Event Coordinators Kevin Brown and Mindi Rold. This brother-and-sister team has overseen Lodi’s Night To Shine two years running. They’ve done a masterful job.

MY PART in the evening the last two years has been to meet each guest and their Buddy as they march down the red carpet to the cheers of the throng gathered on each side of the aisle. I stop them at a prearranged spot so the photographers can get pictures. Then I send them on to the party. What a joy! There were some sweet moments again this year. I love this job!

LOVE. That’s the operative word at Night To Shine. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.” Our Night To Shine guests have never attended a prom. Never been fussed over and showered with attention as they were on this night. The love was palpable. I’m STILL smiling a week later!