PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) It was the red carpet treatment with photographers and cheering crowds at the Night to Shine Prom in Center City for people with special needs and disabilities.
"It is a big deal. It's awesome that Philadelphia was selected to host this year," said Night to Shine Coordinator Richard Murphy.
It was all made possible by the Tim Tebow Foundation and dozens of churches around the country and around the world.
While Tebow may not have scored big with the Eagles last season, the Heisman Trophy winner and philanthropist scored big time with the people invited to this party.
Each of the 175 guests, was paired with a volunteer from Epic Church, which offers ministry for special needs. Partygoers tell FOX 29 this is a night they will remember forever.
She spotted the sparkles, ruffles and glitter even before walking into the magical room. “We were down the hall and she said ‘Oh! I see the dresses!” Jamialah Carroll and I were surrounded by sequins, sparkly shoes and dreams come true—not to mention the squeals of delight coming from behind the curtains of a make-shift dressing room as Ayanna tried on yet another prom dress. “Oh my gosh! I am going to cry!”Jamialah is about to surprise her son Kamal for his birthday at the Night to Shine—a prom for people with special needs 16 and older. Epic Church Philadelphia is hosting the gala, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, this Valentine’s Day weekend. Jamialah’s surprise for her 16 year old son is, in fact, Ayanna decked out in that perfect dress. They’ve been out on four dates—all escorted, of course.“He wanted her to come. Her mother said, ‘I really don’t have the money right now to do it.’ And I said ‘But I think they’re donating dresses.’ My son has no idea that she’s coming. It’s his birthday surprise!”While Ayanna and so many others found their dream dresses in that pop-up boutique at Epic Church’s offices, one girl, try as she might, couldn’t find one that fit just right. Brittanee had tears in her eyes. “We can’t just let anyone go home without a dress,” volunteer Courtney Crugeon said to me.Brittanee was sitting on a chair surrounded by all those beautiful donated brand new dresses. She had a shoe box on her lap. Inside was her perfect pair of princess shoes, silver and strappy and beautiful. But she had no dress. And that simply wasn’t going to do.Time to pile into a pumpkin carriage, hail Brittanee’s fairy godmother and get that dress. Courtney, Brittanee and I headed out to the David's Bridal in Plymouth Meeting. It was jammed. The wait to get into a dressing room? Hours. Nothing a little “bibbidi bobbidi boo” couldn’t fix. The manager waved her magic wand and before you could say “Cinderella,” Brittanee was in a dressing room trying on a gorgeous red number with jewels and ruffles saying she wanted to look like Beyonce.Mission accomplished.The dressing room door swung open and there she was, beautiful , glowing and wearing those perfect princess shoes she had found at Epic’s pop-up boutique. She said "Yes!" to the dress. I had tears in my eyes—such a blessing to be part of such a magical moment. One year ago, Tim Tebow's foundation kicked off Night to Shine where everyone walks the red carpet and the crowd cheers as friendly paparazzi snap pictures. Inside, the royal treatment awaits with hair, make-up and shoe shining stations, corsages and boutonnieres, of course, dancing and even karaoke. This is a prom where every single guest is crowned king or queen of the prom.Tim Tebow says, “When I was 15 years old, I began to realize the importance of fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves. As a foundation, we are so passionate about people with special needs and this event is a great time to tell them how much they are loved by God and by all of us.”Epic Church is one of 200 churches across the nation hosting Night to Shine on this Valentine’s Day weekend where, you know, Love will reign supreme. Big thanks to Philadelphia's Dress Up Time for donating all the beautiful dresses, sashes and shoes!Posted by Lucy Noland FOX 29 on Thursday, February 11, 2016