Church rolls out red carpet for ‘Night to Shine’

Attendees form a conga line in the ballroom during the Night to Shine event held at Real Life Church in Valencia on Friday, February, 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The red carpet was rolled out for honored guests at the Valencia campus of Real Life Church Friday evening, when teens with special needs attended a re-creation of a prom.

The Santa Clarita Valley teenagers were invited to the Night to Shine event hosted by the church, which partnered with the Tim Tebow Foundation to give the teens a chance to dress up, dance and be crowned prom king or queen.

Attendees Jonathan Haselbusch, left, and his escort Alex Patton dance as they are photographed on the red carpet during the Night to Shine event held at Real Life Church in Valencia on Friday, February, 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

“The idea, since this fell close to Valentine’s Day, is to celebrate love and God’s love,” said Debbie Robert, executive director of Real Life Church. “We did this by honoring people who have special needs.”

Party buses lined up to drop off the honored guests and their dates, who were then individually introduced by name to walk down the red carpet and onto the dance floor. “Paparazzi” lined up on both sides of the carpet waving pompoms, cheering and holding signs that read “You’re beautiful!” and “Have fun at prom!”

Master of Ceremonies Dave Wilson, left, introduces Roman Brown, center, and his escort Maria Alba as they walk the red carpet during the Night to Shine event held at Real Life Church in Valencia on Friday, February, 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Weeks before the event, dresses and suits were donated to the church, and those attending the event had the opportunity to pick their outfit and have it fitted by a seamstress. They were also matched with their date for the evening.

Kayla Davidson, center, dressed in her gown, is cheered on as she walks the red carpet during the Night to Shine event held at Real Life Church in Valencia on Friday, February, 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Hours before the event, volunteers gathered at the church campus to do hair and makeup, shine shoes and put on corsages.

“We had about 250 volunteers that participated in every aspect of the event,” said Robert. “We couldn’t have pulled this off without the gifts and help from others.”

Master of Ceremonies Dave Wilson, right, introduces Mauricio Lopez as he walks walk the red carpet during the Night to Shine event held at Real Life Church in Valencia on Friday, February, 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Guests were able to dance, eat and sing karaoke during the night and, before the event ended, Tim Tebow, via video, crowned every honored guest prom king and queen. Their dates were given crowns to place on their heads during Tebow’s announcement.

“This was one of the best nights of the year,” Robert said. “To be able to put this (event) on and see their faces, there are no words.”

Attendees dance to the entertainment in the ballroom during the Night to Shine event held at Real Life Church in Valencia on Friday, February, 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

This was the first year the church has partnered with the Tim Tebow Foundation to put on this event, and Robert said there’s already been discussion about future events at other Real Life Church campuses.

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