JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The annual "Night to Shine" prom for people with special needs was held downtown Friday night and a familiar face joined in the celebration.
Tim Tebow attended his foundation's sponsored event at the Veteran's Memorial Arena, making it an even more special night.
Tebow escorted some of the ladies down the red carpet and took selfies with a lot of the people who were there.
Thousands of people from all over North Florida came to enjoy a night at the prom.
“Kind of neat," participant Hunter Lee said. "An amazing thing to be a part of.”
Attendees, such as Bionca Cummings, made preparations in order to look their very best at the prom.
“I had to run. I had to ride my bike and hurry up. Then I had all my aunts and cousins help me get ready," Cummings said.
The teenagers were having a great time at the prom, and many of the teachers, counselors and parents who came to support the kids walked away knowing they played a part in something very special that the kids would never forget.
“Their faces light up. They glow," teacher Barbara Johns. "They’re so happy walking down the red carpet and having people clap for them is just amazing.”
Mark Dearing fought back tears when he spoke to News4Jax about how much his autistic son was enjoying the event.
“It’s tremendous. We don’t get to do this. He doesn’t get to do this. It means the world,” Dearing said.
The entire event was made possible through the Tim Tebow Foundation and the former Florida Gator quarterback was there to be a part of it.
Tebow was on the red carpet receiving lots of praise from those who benefitted from his generosity at the prom, even from those who weren't the biggest fans of his college team.
“It’s huge, and I’m not even a Florida fan. I went to Georgia and all that but that guy is amazing,” Dearing said.
Nine local churches collaborated with the foundation to put the prom together, and over 3,000 volunteers offered their time to help at the prom.
This year's Night to Shine was not only the largest local event, but also the largest special-needs prom worldwide, according to organizers.
For more information on the foundation's events and how to get involved, visit the Tim Tebow Foundation website.