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‘Night to Shine’ Prom To Go Virtual in 2021

GLEN DALE — Every segment of the local population has been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. Children and adults alike have had to make concessions to keep one another safe. Unfortunately that has meant many annual events have been canceled, postponed or altered.

And that is true for the annual Tim Tebow Foundation’s Ohio Valley Night to Shine 2021. This unforgettable event provides a venue for people with special needs to celebrate prom night. In the past and again this year, Bowman Ridge United Methodist Church in Marshall County, led by Pastor Mike Piekarski, will serve as host for the Ohio Valley Night to Shine.

The unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love and celebrating people with special needs, will be held by host churches around the world simultaneously on Friday, Feb.12, 2021 through a unique online event.

At a time when so many people have been left feeling alone or alienated, the congregation at Bowman Ridge UMC believes it’s important to stand with the Tim Tebow Foundation in this way to honor the local community of people with special needs, ensuring they know they are valued, and they are loved, church officials said.

However due to the pandemic and concern for the safety of all involved, this year’s event will include a virtual party titled “Shine Thru.” On Feb. 6, registered participants will be driven through the parking lot at John Marshall High School in Glen Dale.

There they will pick up their gift bags, crowns, tiaras along with other items while staying safe within their own vehicles. They will then have their gift bags at home during the virtual Night to Shine set for Friday, Feb 12.

This unique virtual event will be complete with all the treasured prom elements, as every guest will get to enjoy music, dancing, prom favors, messages from special guests — all leading up to the moment when each guest is crowned king or queen of the prom. Crowns will be provided to each participant.

“We are looking forward to seeing everyone; their smiles warm our hearts, they truly have made an impact in our lives. Obviously, a virtual Night to Shine is not what we all wished for but keeping everyone safe is an absolute must and we sure hope to make it up to them in 2022,” event spokeswoman Janet Allen said.

Registration forms have been sent out to past attendees but anyone ages 14 and up with special needs can reach out to the church to receive a guest packet. For more information, look for Ohio Valley Night to Shine on Facebook. It is important to have registration forms returned soon to have an accurate count of participants.

“We had 182 guests attend last year and we anticipate that number going up this year. Our expenses will be down this year with not having the full-blown prom, but we will still have a very high budget in order to purchase gift bags along with additional items to pass out as this event is provided free to our guests,” Allen commented.

Allen said the event relies strictly on donations from the community and businesses to make this event happen. If you or your business would like to consider helping make that possible by donating, you may do so by check, payable to: Ohio Valley Night to Shine and mail to Marshall County Federal Credit Union, 910 3rd St., Moundsville, WV 26041.

“We certainly appreciate any donations you can offer, as they will go directly toward making the night truly memorable for the amazing community of people with special needs,” Allen added.

For more information about donating or the virtual event, call Kristi Crawford at 304-639-6573, Janet Allen at 304-650-4126 or Pastor Mike Piekarski at 304-815-3412 for more information

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