Ashley Spencer and Susan Smith appear on Mid-Day to promote Night to Shine. (Source: KAIT-TV)
JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -
Susan Smith and Ashley Spencer's faces almost glow when they're talking about an evening that's been months in the making.
"It is a prom theme with red carpet, entrance with paparazzi," Smith said. "We have a DJ. We’re having a karaoke room, make-up, and shoe-shining station. We have a photo booth. It’s taken a huge team of folks to put it on."
Smith is co-chair of Night to Shine, along with Ashley Spencer. Both of them worked as occupational therapists.
"We have a special passion for people who are maybe not in school, or they maybe are not in any of the day or work programs or at home," Smith said. "And so that was our heart today was to maybe try to reach more people that might be at home and to let their families feel comfortable."
The pair have been raising funds to host the Feb. 9 event at their church, Fellowship Church, 1801 Woodsprings Rd.
The Tim Tebow Foundation oversees the prom night experience. Fellowship Church had to be approved by the organization.
"The Tim Tebow Foundation has worked very thoroughly to create a manual that we go by," Smith said. "Everything is covered—even background checks for our volunteers, EMT and medical team. All of the special things that would help parents and caregivers to feel comfortable. Allowing their child or their guest to come. And so we really want those who—maybe it’s a little difficult to participate in some things. We hope all of their needs will be met so they can have a wonderful evening.
Fellowship Jonesboro will join 500 churches from around the world to host a Night to Shine for approximately 90,000 honored guests with the support of 175,000 volunteers.
"The Facebook page—Night to Shine Jonesboro—is really the best way to find out information about how to register and what to expect. If anyone is interested, go to that. It would be helpful," Spencer said. "Monetary support from the community is always welcome."
“Night to Shine is an incredible night. Lights…music…limos…dancing…and best of all, each honored guest being crowned a king or queen of the prom! I love what one pastor shared with me, ‘We love this event because it smells like Jesus,’” said Erik Dellenback, executive director of the Tim Tebow Foundation. “We continue to be amazed by how God has grown this event into a worldwide movement, celebrating people with special needs. Though the statistics are incredible, this is not about the numbers. Above everything else, our goal is to share God’s love with people with special needs while giving Him all the glory.”
The Tim Tebow Foundation also has committed over $3.5 million in financial support to hundreds of churches needing assistance in hosting the event. When Night to Shine launched in 2015, 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers worked together to honor more than 7,000 kings and queens of the prom. Guests must register in advance to attend.