Compass Christian hosts dance for special people SanTan Sun News

Compass Christian hosts dance for special people

February 3rd, 2018 | by SanTan Sun News
Compass Christian hosts dance for special people
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SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Special needs teens and adults will get the star treatment and have a chance to dance the night away at a novel event in Chandler next week.

Compass Christian Church on South Alma School Road will hold Night to Shine, a prom-type experience for anyone with special needs ages 14 and older on Feb. 9. The Tim Tebow Foundation sponsors these dances in all 50 states and 16 countries around the world.

Participants will walk a red carpet as teen paparazzi applaud and greet them. They also can ride in a limousine and party bus, get complimentary hair and makeup services, eat a catered dinner, dance, sing karaoke and receive prom crowns and tiaras, among other pampering treatments.

Compass teamed up with Discovery Community Church in Gilbert to hold Night to Shine last year at Discovery.

This year, Compass will host the big night on its own, said Marie Jobe, event co-chairwoman and the wife of Compass Senior Pastor Brian Jobe. Lori Marsh is the other co-chair.

Night to Shine at Discovery was a big hit last year, Marie said.

“It went great,” she said. “It was just one of those adrenaline rushes. You’re trying to hold back the tears. As soon as they step up onto the curb, they’re just beaming. They’re so excited to be there.

“They’re just honored and cherished. Our society has come a long way. Just to have something specifically for them where they’re cherished the whole evening, it’s such a blessing.”

Those who take part have varied special needs, including Down syndrome, autism and visual impairments, Marie said.

Compass has a Caring Hearts Ministry to help people who have disabilities and their families. More than 600 volunteers are expected to aid in Night to Shine and 300 special needs guests plan to attend, Marie said.

“Buddies,” or volunteers, will accompany the guests to help them feel comfortable and ensure they have everything they need.

Rooms with quieter activities will be available for anyone who needs a break from the sounds and lights in the dance area. Volunteers will hang out with parents, who will get a full meal as well as chair massages and caricature drawings.

Traci Robb of Gilbert brought her daughter, Morgan Klein, now 22, to Night to Shine at Discovery the last two years and plans to return this month.

Her daughter has mild autism, cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder, but she had a blast dancing and socializing at last year’s dance, Robb said.

“It’s a really amazing experience for them because these are kids that very rarely get to participate in those kinds of events in a high school setting,” she said. “My daughter absolutely loved it.”

Robb said her daughter attended a traditional prom at Mesquite High School, from which she graduated last year, but she believes she had more fun at Night to Shine as she saw many of her friends there.

“It’s like a little reunion for her,” Robb said.

Morgan’s sister Jessie, 26, a neurological pediatric physical therapist, volunteered as a buddy, and Traci’s husband, Wes Robb, also helped out.

“You spend a night with this group of individuals and you see what they have to struggle with every day and you walk away much more grateful than you did when you got there,” Traci said. “They’re still a person and they still want to be loved and have fun and that’s not always available to them.”

Linda Jones of Chandler said her son, Daniel, now 22, also loved Night to Shine last year. Daniel is autistic and graduated from Hamilton High School in 2013.

“It was fabulous,” Linda said. “He loves to dance so he likes that. I think he likes the independence and being around his own peer group age-wise and disability-wise. He had a really pretty young lady that was his buddy for the night.

“It’s wonderful that it’s all done by volunteers. It’s great that Tim Tebow has this in his heart and has managed to do things like this,” Linda added.

The Tim Tebow Foundation gives every host church holding the dance a planning manual and prom kit that has decorations and gifts for the guests. The churches organizing Night to Shine also get support and guidance from a foundation staff member.

The foundation has pledged more than $3.5 million to hundreds of churches that need aid hosting the parties in accordance with its mission to “bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”

Local businesses are also helping support the Night to Shine at Compass Christian Church.

Blake Monar, owner of Statum Style, is donating his hair products to help with stylists getting prom-goers gussied up. Chick-fil-A at Chandler Festival is donating 250 sandwiches for some of the volunteers. 2 Blessed Designs is providing a discount on corsages and boutonnieres.

Tebow played in the New York Mets organization and was invited to the Mets’ spring training this year. Previously, the Heisman Trophy winner played in the NFL for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and New England Patriots.

His foundation focuses on outreach areas that help children, including the W15H program, which fulfills dreams of children who have life-threatening illnesses, as well as supporting orphans’ care in other countries and providing financial help to those who want to adopt special needs children from other countries.

“Night to Shine is my favorite night of the year!” Tebow said. “It’s also a favorite night for thousands and thousands of kings and queens all over the world that we crown at the end of this prom. It’s a time in which people can work together and be a part of something significant and life-changing – and be blessed in the process. It’s about being a part of one team, God’s team.”

Night to Shine kicked off in 2015 with 44 churches hosting the prom and 15,000 volunteers working to celebrate over 7,000 special needs participants. The dance is expected to occur in more than 500 locations in all 50 states and on six continents this month.

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