By DEVIN WEEKS
COEUR d’ALENE — Sparkling stars glittered over the red carpet, LED-lit hoops twirled over the dance floor and big silver balloons on the stage spelled out "SHINE."
And shine they did.
"I'm very, very excited," said Jeremy Jones of Post Falls, looking quite dapper in his suit. "I can't wait to go on the dance floor."
Members of North Idaho's special needs community, parents, caregivers and friends dressed up and partied down at The Cause Church in downtown Coeur d'Alene on Friday night for the 2019 Night to Shine prom.
Night to Shine is an annual celebration held in churches around the country to give people of all abilities the opportunity to make prom memories that will last forever. It's sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, a nonprofit formed by former NFL player Tebow with the mission of providing "faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need."
As the prom-goers walked into the building, their names were announced over the loudspeaker and they were greeted by photographers and two rows of applauding fans. High-fives and hugs were exchanged as the cheering could be heard well out into the evening air.
"It's very nice," Jones said. "I'm glad that Tim Tebow does this for people with disabilities."
Jones' parents, Linda and Ron, accompanied their son, but they hung back in the respite room, which was peaceful and stocked with refreshments and party favors.
"He was excited when he found out about it. He's been tracking where Tim Tebow's been," Linda said. "This is wonderful. This is the best thing for these kids. Well, I call them kids."
"I think it's awesome," Ron said. "I think it's a good thing how they do this."
"It's like the prom that they never got to go to," Linda said.
This was the first year Night to Shine was held at The Cause Church since the church moved to its current location at 1010 E. Sherman Ave. about a year.
"It's so awesome," said executive pastor Jeff Cope. "Our heart for our church is to practice that outreach focus and mentality and loving people and showing people they're valued and they're honored. We love just being able to put stuff on, specifically for the special needs community. It's such an honor to celebrate them and let them know that we love them and that they're amazing. They're such a vital key to our community."