Last Thursday night, children with special needs at an orphanage in Haiti were surprised with a prom, thanks to football star Tim Tebow. Night to Shine
is an international event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. The goal is to give teens with special needs their own prom, complete with red carpets, paparazzi, and dancing. This year, Night to Shine took place in more than 200 churches in 48 states — and around the world — over Valentine's Day weekend.
“My inspiration was when I was 15 years old and I was at a school in a remote village in the Philippines. There was a boy who was shunned out of the event because his feet were on backwards," Tebow told ABC's Good Morning America.
"What we want to do is fight for the people who can’t fight for themselves. That’s what it’s all about."
The festivities kicked off at 6 p.m. local time at the myLIFEspeaks
campus in the small village of Neply, Haiti. Most of the children at the prom were brought by their caregivers and "buddies."
Photographer Sara Beth Turner told Refinery29 that, "All participants were crowned as either king or queen, as [Tim] Tebow noted that 'in the kingdom of God, all are royalty.'"
The next morning, Turner noted that "they were proudly still wearing their crowns and corsages."
She explained that in Haiti, children with special needs are often abandoned, shunned, and forced to live orphanages. She said of the prom event, "For the majority, if not all, of these children, it’s the first time in their life they were able to not only dress up, but also be celebrated and honored."