Night to Shine

Special needs youth, adults dance, sing and dine at evening prom

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Samantha Basave, left, dances with her brother Bryan Basave in the gymnasium at the El Reno Learning Center. The room was full with special needs party-goers and their buddies who danced with them. (Photo by Mindy Ragan Wood)

By Mindy Ragan Wood
Staff Writer

EL RENO – Hearts were full and smiles were aplenty last Friday night during the Tim Tebow Night to Shine event in El Reno.

Youth and adults with disabilities all over the world celebrated the differences that make them special with the annual prom hosted by the former college football quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner.

Residents from the Center of Family Love in Okarche, special needs students from Yukon and central Oklahoma danced, enjoyed dinner, karaoke and photos. Each party guest was accompanied by a first responder from Yukon, El Reno and the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office.  The prom was held at the Lincoln Learning Center in El Reno.

One special guest was there to prove that no matter which disability a person has, everyone should reach for their highest potential.

Elizabeth Reeve twirled around in her wheelchair on the dance floor, accompanied by two service dogs. “I come out to things like this to inspire others,” Reeve said.

Reeve is a multi-pageant winner and holds several titles including American Majestic Legacy Queen. She is preparing to complete her master’s degree in business.

Dancers were not the only ones strutting their stuff during the night, but a Clydesdale horse from Express Ranch was on hand and loving the attention. He was placed outside near a limousine where anyone could take a ride in the luxurious party on wheels.

The horse is called Tigger after the Winnie the Pooh character.

“It helps kids who come to the ranch not be so afraid to approach the horse,” handler Tabitha Hageman said. “They hear Tigger and they get excited.”

Night to Shine celebrated its fifth year Friday. In one night, 655 churches around the world hosted 100,000 guests to the prom. Each guest is given a crown for “royal treatment” which includes a shoe shine and a walk down the red carpet. The event is for youth ages 14 and older. The Tim Tebow Foundation is based in Jacksonville, Florida.