People from around the community gathered last night to cheer on and show support for some special individuals in the community. Cartoogechaye Baptist Church hosted its annual Night to Shine Event — with a few changes to ensure safety amid COVID19.
Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom experience for people with special needs, aged 14 and older. This event, started by the Tim Tebow Foundation, is centered on God’s love and celebrates people with special needs. According to the Tim Tebow Foundation, approximately 90,000 guests attend “Night to Shine” in more than eight countries with the help of 175,000 volunteers.
Tim Tebow, professional baseball player and former NFL quarterback, launched the Tim Tebow Foundation in 2010, with the Night to Shine starting in 2015. His mission “To bring faith, hope, and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”
Macon County hosted its first event in February 2018. This event was not only for Macon County but the entire area. The event welcomes participants from not only Macon County but surrounding counties in Western North Carolina. Cartoogechaye Baptist Church is the only church west of Asheville to host a Night to Shine Event. Carolanne Elliot, event organizer with Cartoogechaye Baptist Church, said “the whole idea for the event is to not only show them that we love them but most importantly that God loves them.”
While this was the fourth year for the event here in Macon County, this year’s event was altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tim Tebow Foundation will provide a virtual event on February 12th for all of the attendees, however, last night’s event showed participants how special they are within our community.
The night’s honored guests circles the Franklin High School Track and were greeted by waves and cheers and special music by the Franklin High School Marching Panther Regiment Band. Participants took photos with Macon County Sheriff’s Office Paw Patrol characters, were given carnations and special gift bags containing goodies, and of course a Crown and Tiara for every King and Queen.
Attendance had to be limited, masks were worn and people maintained social distance. In order to ensure the safety of the participants, they remained in their vehicles.
While Cartoogechaye Baptist Church hosted the event, the night was a community effort made possible by volunteers from across Macon County.
Those wishing to help with the event in the future can contact Cheryl Richter at email@example.com or on their Facebook page Night To Shine Cartoogechaye Baptist Church.
* Drone footage by Daniel Peoples for The Southern Scoop News
**Photos by John Witherspoon & Ellen Bishop for Cartoogechaye Baptist Church and The Night to Shine Event