Tim Tebow was always the center of attention when he played football. Not only is he a Heisman Trophy winner, he led Denver to an unexpected playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2011 season. He was out of football two years later. Now, he is shining the spotlight on others.
Tim Tebow's "Night to Shine", which was held in over 540 churches on Friday night, is a prom night experience for people with special needs ages 14 and older. One of the events was held locally, at Christ's Church of the Valley in San Dimas, and was attended by 120 special needs people.
"It's my favorite night of the year and we get to change so many lives," Tebow said in a video promoting the event. "Honestly, it's not just the night of their life where they get to dance, and they get to have fun. They get to ride in limos, they get to walk down red carpets."
Each "Night to Shine" welcomes guests with shoe shining stations for the men and hair and makeup stations for the women. At CCV in San Dimas, each prom goer and their date or caretaker arrived to cheering crowds and faux paparazzi as they walked down a red carpet.
After a lot of picture taking, the dance begins. Volunteers help out with everything, including getting the shyer ones on to the dance floor.
"One boy was dancing in his chair at one of the tables, so I went over and asked him if he wanted to go on to the dance floor with me," volunteer Hannah Mitchell said (full disclosure: Hannah is the youngest daughter of Times assistant sports editor Houston Mitchell). "A smile lit up his face and melted my heart. It is truly one of the greatest events I have attended. Just to see everyone smiling, laughing and feeling so free is an experience I will never forget."
Tebow showed up as a surprise at a couple of locations across the country before he heads off to spring training for the New York Mets, hoping he can turn his football career into a baseball career.