‘You don’t know joy until you’ve met someone with special needs’: Volunteers needed for special needs prom in Amarillo

Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 5:24 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - It’s a prom night for those with special needs celebrated worldwide, including here in Amarillo and its back in full force since COVID-19.

Night to Shine was started by the Tim Tebow Foundation and offers individuals with disabilities, ages 14 and up, an unforgettable prom experience.

This year, the event is back to normal, in-person and is in need of volunteers, especially to serve as a buddy.

“Every single guest gets paired with a buddy at Night to Shine and that buddy spends all evening with them, making sure that they have the time of their life, making sure that they’re never left out of any part of the fun, any part of the action,” said Hannah Crites, event coordinator, Night to Shine Amarillo.

With 500 guests expected, that means 500 volunteers are needed to serve as a buddy.

There are also some other volunteer roles to be filled, as well.

The night is all about showing the special needs community they are loved and worthy.

“All of our guests get to go to the glam room, the girls can get their hair and makeup done and the guys can get their shoes shined, then they each get to take a limo ride and when they get out of the limo, they walk down the red carpet that’s lined with volunteers that are cheering for them and making them feel so special,” said Crites.

At the end of the night, each guest is crowned a king or queen.

Those who have served as a buddy in the past say it is a rewarding experience.

“You don’t know joy until you’ve met someone with special needs, there’s just nothing that they can’t overcome or nothing that they have had challenges that they face and they just go with it with such grace and joy,” said Brandy Gallegos, former buddy at Night to Shine.

Night to Shine Amarillo will be on Feb. 10 at the Amarillo Civic Center.

If you’d like to volunteer or if you know someone who would like to attend as a guest, you need to register by Jan. 31.

Volunteers must pass a background check. To register click here.

If you would like to register as a guest, click here.