Hundreds attend special ‘Night to Shine’ prom at Morningstar

Emily Smith and Jeff Reigner walk the Red Carpet as their names are announced.
Emily Smith and Jeff Reigner walk the Red Carpet as their names are announced. Jesi Yost — Digital First Media

For the second year in a row, Morningstar Fellowship of Bechtelsville has joined hundreds of churches worldwide in hosting Night to Shine, a prom night for teens and adults with special needs.

Associate Pastor Bruce Borgard says 170 guests and 250 volunteers attended the event on Friday night.

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“Every guest that came in was paired with a one-on-one buddy, which was their date or escort for the night.” Borgard said there was also a respite room available for the 120 caregivers that had arrived with guests.

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The special night included limo rides, food, music and dancing. It is open to all persons with special needs 14 years of age of older.

“We had some young people here — 14, 15, 16 years old — and we had someone that came that was 80,” said Borgard. “It’s prom for people with special needs, so we had a wide range of folks. There were some people in wheelchairs, a majority not in wheelchairs; people with all different special needs.”

Those interested to attend are asked to register ahead of time so the organizers can get enough volunteers together.

“The majority of the volunteers were from our congregation here. But we did have the girls basketball team from Spring-Ford.” The whole team came out to help. “They actually had asked ‘what can we do?’ We had an ice cream station we wanted to do, so they ran with that. They actually raised money and provided everything for the ice cream stand – the ice cream, all the toppings, everything, and then manned it also.”

Students from other area schools reached out to help with the event as well.

When asked why Morningstar Fellowship decided to start hosting Night to Shine, Borgard said him and his wife have a daughter with special needs.

“The special needs community is dear to our heart, so when we heard about it we thought we need to do something with this. We have a team of volunteers here that are absolutely fantastic, at the church. Everybody kind of ran with it.”

He says the event’s attendance has doubled in size since last year, which means they needed double the volunteers.

“We have such a wonderful serving volunteer base here at the church — it’s easy to find volunteers for an event like that. Everybody had such a great time.”

Night to Shine is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation and is typically held the Friday night before Valentine’s Day.

“It was a great prom,” said Borgard. “We’ve already got plans for next year.”

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Rebecca Blanchard

Rebecca won't hesitate to tell you that she has enjoyed writing throughout her entire life. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, she graduated from the professional writing program of Kutztown University in 2012. Rebecca joined Berks-Mont Newspapers in July of 2012 as editor of The Boyertown Area Times following her internship with the newspaper. In addition to writing, she enjoys traveling and cooking gluten-free foods. Reach the author at rblanchard@berksmontnews.com or follow Rebecca on Twitter: @boyertowntimes.