Central Florida church throws prom for people with special needs

By Erin Murray, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018, 10:55 PM EST

Prom is about dancing the night away with friends and loved ones. But the downside about prom is that sometimes people with special needs don’t get an opportunity to go.

  • 'A Night to Shine' hosts prom-like event for people with special needs
  • Anyone with special needs age 14 and up can attend
  • Attendee and caregiver enjoy music, dance and food

“I have four older daughters and they all had prom and different things like that. Rachel goes to a small school and they are all on the spectrum, and they don’t have a prom or anything and this is just fantastic,” said Amy Goodpasture.

She is talking about the prom-like event ‘A Night to Shine.’ It’s the third year the Christ Presbyterian Church has hosted it with the help of the Tim Tebow Foundation.

“We get to dance a lot which is one of my favorite activities, and they have karaoke here, and it’s really fun, and they have really good food,” said Rachel Goodpature, 17.

The whole event is just for people with special needs.

“I would say last year was probably the best night of the whole year, and actually on the way home we actually started looking forward to tonight,” said Amy.

From start to finish, it is all about the special needs guest. They enter the Henderson Building at Embry Riddle University by walking down a long red carpet to cheers. Then are given a tiara or crown to wear for the night, and once inside are able to enjoy food, karaoke, dancing and more.

Anyone with special needs ages 14 and up is able to come with their caregiver. And while the most fun is had by those with special needs, their caregivers are often seen having the time of their lives too.

“It’s fun for the families to be included, and having fun with our special children. And we feel so included,” said Amy.

“It made me cry, now I am prepared for it, but it’s tear jerking for parents,” said Lisa Taber, a mother.

Lisa’s son Ashton has been coming to the event for the last three years. For Ashton, there is one part of the night he looks forward to every year.

“Dancing!” said Ashton.

For three hours, the stress of life melts away to rhythms of music, family and fun.