A Night of Glitz, Glamor, and God’s Love at Rainbow Acres
On a beautiful February evening, Rainbow Acres was transformed into a magical wonderland, filled with twinkling lights, shimmering stars, and a red carpet leading to a night of celebration and joy. This was all thanks to Night to Shine, an annual high-energy, inspirational event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.
Since its creation in 2014, Night to Shine has become a global phenomenon. With the help of volunteers and local churches worldwide, the Tim Tebow Foundation provides an unforgettable prom night experience centered on God’s love for people with special needs.
This year, Rainbow Acres hosted a satellite Night to Shine. Dressed to the nines and with a brilliant smile on every face, the Ranchers danced the night away while being reminded that they are loved.
The evening was a huge success thanks to the many volunteers who generously contributed their time and energy.
Special Needs Adults Pick Prom Outfits
In the weeks before the event, many beautiful dresses and nice dress shirts were donated. Several members of staff carried the items from house to house here on the Ranch. There, they helped our residents choose party clothes from among the colorful options. Each Rancher found an outfit that expressed their own personal style, and volunteers stepped in to alter the clothing for a perfect fit.
In the hours before the party started, a slew of volunteers converged on Rainbow Acres to make possible the best night ever. A dozen or more took on decorating the Palmer Community Center. With the help of a scissor lift, they hung stars from the ceiling and fixed strings of bead lights to cascade down the wall. Other volunteers created photo booth options, crafted huge letters to spell out “Shine” beneath the projector screen, and covered the windows in cut out stars.
Other volunteers set up tables for refreshments. They artfully arranged cookies and candy on silver trays. They set up soda and frozen fruit at the beverage station. Two hundred tiny umbrellas were opened in preparation for the many sparkling drinks soon to be created.
Next door, another group of volunteers established hairdressing, makeup, and accessory stations. As the chattering Ranchers sat in line waiting their turn, these volunteers transformed each rancher into the most physically beautiful version of themselves.
Our lady Ranchers loved choosing what color their nails would be. They held up their hands and watched the light glint off the freshly applied polish. Eyes closed; they sat still for the application of their makeup. When they looked in the mirror, their reactions were ones of delight.
Organized chaos swirled around the hairdressing stations as the volunteers there worked their magic. Buns, braids, and bouncing curls—each hairdo was stunning.
At a nearby table, a selection of snazzy ties, pretty hair bows, and lovely jewelry awaited the Rancher’s perusal. Volunteers assisted them in choosing the perfect accessories to match their dresses or suits. They did not stop until every Rancher was happy and smiling from ear to ear.
At the appointed hour, our guests of honor, dressed in all their finery, entered the front doors of the Palmer Community Center. Some were shy. Some were bold. A few were happy to show off, opening their suit jackets and spinning around so everyone could see how handsome they were.
Inside the front doors, coat check volunteers welcomed them to the party. After checking their wraps, the VIPs joined the line leading into the transformed dining room. While they patiently waited their turn, they exclaimed over each other and cheered each new arrival. They embraced one other or shook hands.
“You are all just so beautiful,” one neurodiverse Rancher said to everyone around him.
Another rancher mentioned how seeing both staff and residents dressed up nicely made him feel like, “We are all just people at a party tonight.”
As the event began, music could be heard throughout the building. Twinkling lights, a red carpet, and an announcer set the scene for the grand entrance. When they approached the entryway, the Ranchers were reminded that they are Kings and Queens while being given a crown or a tiara. After securing their crowns, they chose a volunteer escort or walked arm-in-arm with a family member.
When the announcer called their name, each beaming King or Queen ducked through the streamers, under the balloon arch, and walked down the red carpet to the cheering of their friends, family members, staff, and volunteers.
These minutes of wonder, pride, and joy were the highlight of the evening. Each Rancher recognized and applauded for being the beautiful, amazing person they are. They shone as brightly as stars.
When the last VIP was announced, the projector screen filled with a prerecorded video featuring Tim Tebow and his wife, Demi-Leigh, greeting the Kings and Queens. The video showed a photomontage of the many different Nights to Shine being held around the world—images where joy and love were recognizable no matter who was in the picture or where they were from.
Between segments of conversations, the video presented fun dance routines with easy-to-follow instructions. As the music increased in tempo, the dancers crowded into the center of the room. Arms lifted, smiling brightly, and everyone danced with joy.
Throughout the video, Tim and Demi-Leigh reminded the Kings and Queens that they are royalty because they are children of God. God so loved the world… which means he loves them. Each one seen, known, and loved by God.
When the video finished, a playlist began, and the dancing continued for more than an hour. Guests snacked on homemade cookies (star-shaped, of course) and chocolates. Several volunteers mixed sparkling fruit drinks.
Those who were not able to dance for long gathered in chairs lining the wall where they enjoyed the company of friends. Staff and volunteers mingled, engaging in conversation with the quieter VIPs and making sure every dancer had a partner.
1 Corinthians 15:41 tells us that “The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.” (NIV) Night to Shine recognizes that each King and Queen shine in their own unique and special splendor. And together, all of our Shining Stars create a beautiful symphony of love and light.