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Guests with special needs “shine” at prom just for them

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- For some students with special needs, they may never have gotten to go to their junior or senior prom.

That was the reason behind an event formed just for them to make sure no one misses out on the fun.

It was the "Night to Shine," a chance to make memories that would last a lifetime.

It's a national event that has grown in popularity over the last six years as part of the Tim Tebow Foundation.

Friday night's Night to Shine in Peoria, however, was a first for the area, thanks to help from Riverside Community and Bethel Lutheran Churches.

There were roughly 100 guests with special needs.

Each one was paired with a buddy, who spent the whole evening with them, doing everything from posing for pictures to making crafts and dancing.

"Chances are a lot of the individuals that come to this event may not have had a prom night in high school, or if they did, maybe it wasn't so special," said coordinator Rachel Chaffer from Bethel Lutheran Church, "so this is their night to shine, and we make sure of that."

Each participant left with a crown and the coveted title of Prom King or Prom Queen.

Sheridan Swathwood

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