Prom for those with special needs coming to Clanton
Published 3:11 pm Monday, February 6, 2023
By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor
New Life Church in Clanton is partnering with the Tim Tebow Foundation and volunteers throughout the community to create a prom experience for those with special needs.
On Feb. 10, individuals with special needs, who are 14 years old and older, will enjoy a free night of food, music, glam and fun as guests of honor at the event.
“Starting at 5 p.m., we’ll have our guests of honor show up,” Trea Sanders, associate pastor of New life Church, said. “We will have hair and makeup rooms set up where they can get their hair and makeup done by local professional hair (and) makeup artists.”
Men will enjoy a professional shoe shine.
Gowns and discounted tuxedo rentals have been donated to the event to make the night extra special.
Sanders said they want each attendee to “feel beauty and just confident in themselves.”
Attendees will be taken on a short limousine ride from New Life around Clanton and back to the church, where they will walk the red carpet into the prom.
“On both sides of the red carpet, we are going to have, we are calling them our team of paparazzi … and we are going to scream and shout and cheer as the guests of honor get out of the limousine and walk into the official Night to Shine prom,” Sanders said.
Parents and caretakers of attendees can also enjoy a night of relaxation and food in the respite area, or they can accompany their Guest of Honor during the event.
“We have a quiet room where they can just sit in silence,” Sanders said. “We have a room where they can eat and watch (live feed of the prom participants) and hangout.”
A highlight of the event will be a video message from Tim Tebow and a message of encouragement from David Littleton, pastor of New Life Church.
“We remind them of their worth, who they are in Christ Jesus,” Sanders said.
In the video, Tebow will announce all of the guests of honor as prom kings and queens. Each person will receive a crown.
“That’s a very special moment because it reminds them of their worth,” Sanders said.
Littleton said the church has had a focus on serving community members with special needs since 2016.
“The church had a lunch at Wendy’s, and there was a special needs student in there, and we found out from them that they didn’t feel welcome at our church because the special needs student was kind of loud, and they were afraid they were disturbing people,” Littleton said. “That’s when we started a Stars program, which is a special needs program at New Life.”
This will be the church’s second time hosting Night to Shine. Volunteers from several other churches in the community are helping with the event.
“This is something that everyone in Chilton County should be proud of because everyone has pitched in,” Sanders said.
Registration information is available at newlifechurch.live/nighttoshine.
Sanders said guests of honor can also just show up the night of the event.