By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
As awareness about Night to Shine spread on social media, crowdfunding sites, and word-of-mouth, donations poured in.
“I was overwhelmed with the response … we’re pretty much set financially (now),” said Jennifer Hildebrand, a member of Our Lady of the River Parish, LeClaire. The parish was selected by the Tim Tebow Foundation to host a prom night experience on Feb. 10 for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. There is no cost to attend for guests and volunteers.
Our Lady of the River’s Night to Shine will take place at the Quad City Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf. Persons of all faiths are welcome. Prom-goers will take a short limousine ride to the venue, walk on a red carpet and receive a warm welcome from the crowd and paparazzi. The gals will get their hair and makeup done and the guys will have their shoes shined. They’ll receive corsages, boutonnieres and prom favors. A meal will be served and the guests will enjoy karaoke and dancing. For the finale, the guys will be crowned kings and the gals will be crowned queens of the prom.
To facilitate the event, the parish is asking for about 250 volunteers to fill a variety of roles, from one-on-one buddies to photographers to shoe-shiners and more. A complete list, as well as a registration form, can be found at www.ourladyoftheriver.com. Interested persons may also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (563) 316-0530.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for students needing service hours, or for anyone interested in going into social work or special education,” Hildebrand noted.
The minimum age to volunteer is 14, and one-on-one buddies must be ages 16 or older. All volunteers under 18 years of age need parental permission. All adult volunteers must pass, or have recently passed, a background check.
Our Lady of the River was one of four churches in Iowa selected to host the event. Risen Christ Lutheran Church in Davenport was also selected; their event will take place the same night at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Davenport. “It is our hope that each guest will have the option of choosing which venue they wish to attend,” Hildebrand said.
Thanks to donors and grants, as well as the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center offering special accommodations for the event, Night to Shine is currently set to be able to offer the prom experience to up to 200 guests. Hildebrand said Our Lady of the River would like to accommodate more guests if possible. A fundraiser through Jumponit, a locally owned company that sends out offers for businesses via text message, will donate 50 cents to $1 for every person who joins the free service the week of Jan 9. Cell phone users can text JumpOnQC to 88678 that week and Jumponit will donate up to $3,000.
For more information and to register as a guest, visit www.ourladyoftheriver.com or contact Hildebrand at email@example.com or (563) 370-4412.
“It’ll be an interactive night of dancing and activities to make guests feel special,” Hildebrand said.