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Lusaka’s First ‘Night To Shine’ (with link to photos)

Lusaka’s First ‘Night To Shine’ (with link to photos)

Please follow this link to see photos of the night: https://specialhopenetwork.pixieset.com/

On February 8, 2019, Special Hope Network along with the Tim Tebow Foundation and International Baptist Church in Lusaka helped put on the very first ‘Night to Shine’ prom in Zambia. The event was an overwhelming success. Over 70 adolescent and adult guests with intellectual disabilities attended the event as well as almost 200 volunteers and over 90 parents of the guests.

The event required a great deal of preparation, and folks from our team spent the weeks leading up to the night making calls, scouring Lusaka for the materials required for the event, and planning how to ensure the night would run as smoothly as possible. The event involved a red carpet entry, a hair and nails station, a shoe-shining station, games, karaoke, dance music, a table-service meal for the guests, food for the parents, a gift bag to take home and coordinating safe transportation home in the dark for over 200 of the attendees! The success and safety of the night can only be attributed to God’s amazing grace.

Most of the guests with intellectual disabilities experienced their first dance and each and every one of them was crowned a king or a queen at the end of the night. Watching the guests be crowned was such a beautiful picture of what God invites us into by adopting us into his family and kingdom.

Many of the guests, volunteers, and parents reacted positively to the event. We had guests who said they were nervous about going to their first dance who then said it was an amazing night and they were told how beautiful they look in their crown. A volunteer is now pursuing a volunteer visa so that they may give up their time to work in a Special Hope Community Care Center. Many parents did not believe that an event like this could be real of that their child could possibly attend such an over-stimulating and novel situation and enjoy it. Yet, afterwards they told stories about how excited they were that their child could be included or how amazed they were that their child was well taken care of and avoided a major meltdown.

If anyone has had the opportunity to experience a Night To Shine prom then you understand how incredible these events are. Zambia’s first ever Night To Shine was no exception. Volunteers were able to experience people with intellectual disabilities for the first time, parents were able to see their child be invited to and attend a party that was perfectly crafted for them, and each and every guest was able to experience the love of Jesus Christ who created them uniquely and values them deeply, and they each got to go home crowned the king or queen of the prom.

Please follow this link to see photos of the night: https://specialhopenetwork.pixieset.com/