Prom celebrates 180 guests with special needs

POIPU — Saturday’s rain did not stop Melvin Corpuz Jr. from A Night to Shine.

Corpuz took a paratransit Kauai Bus from Eleele to the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa for the special prom, said Estralita Fernandez.

“He is excited,” said Laverne Corpuz. “This is his first time, so even the rain couldn’t dampen his spirits.”

Caitlyn Aguinaldo, a Kauai High School cheerleader, was there too, but she said she’d left her uniform at home.

“This was not on the schedule,” Aguinaldo said. “Coach didn’t give me a schedule for this. This is a dance party. Are you going to dance with me?”

Corpuz and Aguinaldo were among more than 180 guests who descended to the Grand Hyatt’s Grand Ballroom for A Night to Shine prom, held for people with special needs, aged 14 and older.

“We were blessed to receive a Tim Tebow Foundation grant which allows us to have this event this year,” said Amanda Phillips of the Lihue Missionary Church, Able Special Needs Ministries.

“The number of churches offering A Night to Shine has doubled since last year,” added Matt Phillips of Lihue Missionary Church. “Our attendance is steady at more than 180 people. It is such a joy to see them having so much fun.”

One of the volunteer chaperones said it was awesome to see participants having so much fun.

“The work being done by Lihue Missionary Church, the Kauai host church for the 2017 Night to Shine, is very important,” said the volunteer, who requested anonymity. “This is very fun for the kids who might otherwise never have an opportunity to do this. This is a very beautiful event, and to see the smiles on their faces is the most important thing.”

This year marks the third anniversary of the Tim Tebow Foundation, which provides a prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs. This year, more than 150,000 volunteers in more than 375 churches around the world will serve more than 75,000 honored guests. This amount represent all 50 states, 11 countries, and 28 denominations, an 850 percent growth from the first year.

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