It was prom night in Dunn Friday night at the Shrine Center, but it wasn’t your ordinary prom as hundreds of special needs guests filled the room with excitement, joy, happiness and fellowship.
Guests came from as far away as Goldsboro and Garner to enjoy the Night To Shine event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation and by Mt. Carmel PFWB. For many it was a rare chance to get out, mingle and share the excitement.
One such guest was Scott Overby, who’s mother, Debbie, and father, Larry, were so elated their son could get out and enjoy himself.
“It means a lot to these special people, it certainly does,” Mrs. Overby said. “He’s been really looking forward to it for the past several weeks and this week he’s really been talking about it.”
For Scott and his fellow prom-goers, it offered a chance to get shoes shined, makeup help, get a photo and even a limo ride.
“He’s looking forward to the social part of it, I think,” she said. “The dancing and having someone taking him around and spending time with him. He’s not so much into the eating part as he is the social part of it.”
Socializing is something very important, not only to Scott, but for others in attendance. Whether its a chance to sit at the table and eat the catered food, grab a dance or just sit and talk, socialization was one of the best points for Mr. and Mrs. Overby and Scott.
“It’s very lacking certainly, he doesn’t have that,” Mrs. Overby said. “Others are in the same situation.”
Scott was no newcomer to the event, as he’s been in attendance to similar events in Wake County. Since the family moved from the Wake County area, Mrs. Overby was glad to see Friday’s event happen.
“I’m very, very happy,” she said. “I hope it continues.”
While the guests spent time with volunteers who gave up their evening to make sure all had a good time and had someone to escort them around, the caregivers and parents could be seen enjoying their own time with a catered meal and some time to just rest.
There was one more group who felt the joy themselves — the over 300 volunteers it took to make the Night To Shine happen.
Two of those were Stephanie Norris and Chloe Westbrook who were manning the hair and makeup table. Ms. Norris was there to make sure the ladies had just the right look to their hair.
“My church is Mt. Carmel and they’re hosting this event so I wanted to take part,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed it very much.”
For Ms. Westbrook it was the first time she had volunteered for such an event, but it didn’t dampen her enthusiasm as she helped the ladies with their makeup.
“I get many blessings from this,” she said. “It touches my heart to see these people have a good time. This is my first time, but I know a lot of people who have done this before and I’ve been looking forward to this most definitely.”
One of the ladies Ms. Westbrook and Ms. Norris were able to get into the proper look was Natalie Barnes of Benson.
Miss Barnes was strutting her stuff in a red dress and got plenty of help from Ms. Westbrook as they decided what makeup would be appropriate.
“I like the chance to get my hair and makeup done, I do, I do,” she said. “I think I’m going to stay for at least a couple of hours and have some fun.”