Bethel Church gives individuals with disabilities a Night to Shine
TRI-CITIES, Wash. — More than 300 volunteers are glamming up the Bethel Church in Richland, readying the campus for a "Night to Shine", an unforgettable prom night for individuals with disabilities happening nationwide thanks to the Tim Tebow foundation.
Ticket-holder Jody Pechim said she loves this dance and she's attended three times.
"I don't wear no high-heels. I wear heels about that big," Pechim said, squishing the air between her index-finger and thumb. "We didn't have dances in high school, cause I was in special ed classes. We didn't have dances until I came here."
Arc of Tri-Cities Adult Day Services Manager Megan Fort said a night to shine on Friday night is a chance to socialize many individuals with disabilities miss out on as they age out of national programs.
"When students graduate from high school, students with disabilities, their opportunities shrink to almost nothing," Fort said.
Bethel Church of Richland Outreach Coordinator Angela Hufford said the congregation was looking for a way to serve folks from marginalized communities.
"We all just have a heart to serve," Hufford said. "We're excited to have this opportunity."
Fort said the people she works with really look forward to it.
"They're so excited," she said, smiling. "They start telling me about their dress, their tuxedo. 'I'm going to do this dance move and I'm really excited about it'."
"I get to meet new friends and dance slow dances," said Pechim, before clarifying. "Not really-really fast dances yet."
Arc of Tri-Cities Day Program Coordinator Jodie Wilson said the formal event starts off strong.
"The energy level is high. Very high," she said, describing how ticket-holders walk the red carpet, paparazzi flashbulbs exploding all around.
"The night to shine offers another way for our population to be in the public eye," Wilson paused before adding, "They can come into the dance and leave their disability at the door."
'Night to Shine' ticketholder Tiffanie Tracy said it's really fun.
"You don't get to go to prom everyday," she said, adding that she really liked the food. "They had chocolate and white covered pretzels. Some fruit punch, red and yellow."
Hufford said this has turned into a wonderful opportunity.
"We just think it's an honor and a privilege to be able to enter into this evening," she said. "For us it's just a great opportunity to bless our community."
Pechim said she's excited to find a knight in shining armor to dance with her, but she's looking forward to making new friends.
Maybe even you.
"No matter what your disabilities are, we can do anything anyone else can. So why don't you all come and see what you can do," she encouraged, adding, "If you're shy, don't be afraid. I'll show you around."
Huffard said they have more than enough volunteers for this years event, but all individuals with disabilities are still welcome.
If you think this sounds like fun, she encourages you to show up.
You can register online, or pick up tickets at the door.
Night to Shine: Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation
- When: 6 p.m to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9.
- Where: Bethel Church, 600 Shockley Rd., Richland, Wash.