ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Catalyst Church in Altoona, Blair County hosted A Night to Shine, a prom experience for individuals with special needs.
Visitors came dressed in their best to walk down the red carpet and hit the dance floor, for the first time in two years. WTAJ’s Jordan Mansberger reported from the event on all the fun. From dancing the night away, spending time with friends, and the crowning — the night truly allowed members of the 814 community to “shine.”
“The Tim Tebow Foundation is our sponsor,” April Blackie, the wife of the pastor at Catalyst Church and an organizer of the event, said “But all of these events are hosted by local churches, so we signed on to do it and then the last two years we’ve been virtual. Which is not fun, but we are so lucky to be back in person.” Studio 814’s Rebecca Petner shares her experience at the Night to Shine 2023.
April said that volunteers have worked tirelessly to make this possible. Festivities include limo rides around the city, karaoke rooms, a sensory room, and even a hair stylist station.
“Fifteen percent of our population are people with special needs,” Blackie said. “And they are one of the most under-serviced populations, and this is just a wonderful thing. Something that’s designed just for them. Everything we do from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they leave is designed for things that they want to do.”
At the end of the evening, everyone gets a crown, to signify how important they all are.
“We are all God’s children, and we want to make these people feel special,” Blackie said. “And so, in a prom setting there’s always a king and queen at the prom. And so that’s what we do at the end of the evening. We have a message that is videotaped from Tim Tebow himself and his wife.”
Studio 814’s Rebecca Petner with Wynn and his sister Sue.
“Night To Shine 2023”
Studio 814’s Rebecca Petner with Esther.
Night To Shine 2023