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A special night for special-needs kings and queens

More than 500 churches in all 50 states and 16 countries host Night to Shine events.

Night to Shine, Tim Tebow likes to say, is all about the kings and queens.

All of the special-needs teens and adults who participate in the “unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love” receive a crown or tiara.

Justin Nalley hangs out with the disc jockey Donny Wise at the West-Ark Church of Christ in Fort Smith, Ark.

Greeting honored guests in Oklahoma, the 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback explained the royal treatment: “It’s because we believe that’s how God looks at you every single day.”

On the Friday night before Valentine’s Day, Tebow’s nonprofit foundation sponsored Night to Shine events at 537 churches in all 50 states and 16 countries. In all, about 90,000 people with autism, Down syndrome and other special needs reveled in the fourth annual festivities.

Related: For kings and queens with special needs, a Night to Shine

Host churches included the West-Ark Church of Christ in Fort Smith, Ark., the Crestview Church of Christ in Waco, Texas, and the NorthField Church in Gallatin, Tenn., which has roots in Churches of Christ. Country star Thomas Rhett made a surprise appearance at the NorthField event.

“All of the hard work was blessed beyond measure,” Crestview member Donnis Smith said. “All the photos and smiles say it all.”

More photos

A king, joined by his volunteer buddy, arrives at the Gallatin, Tenn., event.

Katie Mitchell, left, and queen Julie Barton enjoy Night to Shine in Waco, Texas.

Megan Allen smiles for the camera at the NorthField Church in Gallatin, Tenn.

Terri Grimes busts a move on the dance floor at the Night to Shine event hosted by the West-Ark Church of Christ in Fort Smith, Ark.

Filed under: National Night to Shine Partners special needs Tim Tebow Top Stories

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