A Night to Shine going virtual in 2021

Published 8:48 am Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A pandemic may put a damper on next year’s Night to Shine event; the annual prom will still go on, but have a much different look.

The 2021 Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, is transitioning to a virtual event next February. Night to Shine is a prom night experience for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. Grace Bible Church is this year’s host for Oxford’s event.

Due to the shift in format, Shannon Richardson and the rest of the 2021 Night to Shine committee are working to make this event just as memorable as all previous events held in-person.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s very, very different this year and I know a lot of the guests are going to be bummed to not have it in-person. It’s such an amazing event in person,” Richardson said. “We do want to try and do something so that they’re not just going a year without being celebrated. …It’s so important. For many of our honored guests, this is the thing they look forward to all year long.”

The Tebow Foundation made the decision in early Fall to shift 2021’s event to a virtual experience. They will be providing Richardson and other participating groups across the country a link for the honor guests to click on the night of the event.

What Richardson’s committee is still doing, locally, is coming up with Prom Kits for the honored guests. The kits will include a crown or tiara, boutonniere or corsage and other accessories such has sparkler headbands, bracelets, picture frame. How many extra accessories that will be included in each kit is determined by how much money is raised via donations. A red carpet drive-thru event will take place at Grace Bible Church for guests to pick up their kits. Kits will also be delivered for those who are not able to get to the church.

A prom closet will be made available for those who may not have a suit or dress attire.

This year has seen many events turn to the virtual format via Zoom or other platforms. Richardson is hopeful moving forward the Night to Shine can turn into a hybrid method, combining both in-person and virtual aspects to accommodate everyone who wants to participate.

“Some of our guests are not able to come in-person on a normal year,” Richardson said. “They’re not able to get out for physical or some other kind of disability. So, we’re hoping this will allow those guests an opportunity to kind of share in the experience.”

To sponsor an honored guest, the cost is $20, which will cover the cost of their Prom Kit. Registration of an honor guest is free, but to do so, visit gracebibleofoxford.com/nighttoshine. The 2021 event is taking place on Feb. 12.