SVSU, local church host Night to Shine

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On Friday, Feb. 9, Night to Shine was held in SVSU’s Curtiss Hall Banquet rooms and across the world as part of the Tim Tebow Foundation and its partnership with community churches.

Night to Shine is a free prom night for people with disabilities. It was hosted locally by 2|42 Community Church of Saginaw.

“It’s so powerful to hangout with these amazing young people from here in our very own community,” Saginaw campus pastor Joe Amini said. “They were the celebrities tonight, not the sports figures or CEOs so often seen on TV.”

On the same night, more than 540 churches came together in partnership with the Tim Tebow Foundation to honor guests and make them feel as if they were the center of attention.

The event was not meant to bring attention or awareness but simply to help those with disabilities have fun and have a moment in the spotlight.

“Our goal is to celebrate the men and women who don’t get celebrated very much,” said Jim Damman, who is the Saginaw director of Night to Shine for 2|42 Community Church and has 19 years of experience working with students who have special needs. “The simple goal of this event is to celebrate those with disabilities, and celebrate them for the wonderful people that they are.”

The night kicked off with guests walking down a red carpet at 6 p.m. surrounded by people cheering them on.

While the guests were walking down the red carpet, they received crowns and tiaras and boutonnieres or corsages to show them off as the kings and queens of the night.

A community prayer took place before dinner was served. Following dinner, everyone went to the dance floor. Throughout the night, people were taking turns at the biggest hit of the entire event, the photo booth.

“At the end of the day, our primary goal was for these people to walk away from a good time with great memories,” Damman said. “I think we were successful in that goal.”

2|42 Community Church helped to coordinate Night to Shine in four other locations across the state. The Saginaw branch put on the event in order to showcase its goal of becoming an active member of the Saginaw community.

Friday’s dance event was special for the church, as it took place 48 hours before they opened their doors in Curtiss Hall for the first time.

“We wanted to use Night to Shine to introduce ourselves to the community,” Damman said. “People should know how interested we are in making a difference here in Saginaw, and this was our way of doing it.”

All 150 guests left with a smile on their face and a grab bag in hand, courtesy of the Tim Tebow Foundation. Although this was the first Night to Shine held at SVSU, 2|42 is currently planning on continuing the event in the future.

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