Hundreds of kids in Kern County experienced the night of their lives Friday, thanks to former University of Florida football star Tim Tebow.
Over 200 teens with special needs who never had the chance to go to prom strutted their stuff on the red carpet at the Crossroads Christian Fellowship Church for the, "Night to Shine" event. 400 community members also volunteered their time to help transform the event into a reality.
16 year old Halle Hollowell was like most teens Friday, she spent the afternoon doing her hair and getting dressed in fancy clothes. “I will just have a good time,” Hollowell said.
Along with many others in the community, Hollowell deals with her own challenges day in and day out. Living with cerebral palsy, her movement is hindered but not her positive spirit towards life.
“When you fall down, you just have to keep trying and get back up again,” Hollowell said. Friday night she didn’t let anything get in the way of enjoying prom for the first time.
Kern County Fire Captain Brian Conlee partnered with the Tim Tebow foundation in order to raise $30,000 to bring the, “Night To Shine,” event to Bakersfield for the first time. “We’ll actually have limos, four of them that will drive around the parking lot and give the guests rides. They’ll get their pictures taken when they get out of the limos. We’ll have hair and make up touch ups,”Conlee said.
Conlee’s goal was to give Halle and more than 100 other kids with special needs a night for just them. “I look at them and think what do we have to complain about? They’re happy, and it was just something I really wanted to do to celebrate them and honor them,” Conlee said.
Conlee doesn’t have a child with special needs, but the event Friday was not just for the teens.
“This is for the parents and caregivers to come and they are also going to get dinner and masseuses and manicurist are showing up,” Conlee said.
Conlee and volunteers did their best to give people like Halle’s mom Michelle Louviere a place to unwind and Louviere didn’t overlook their efforts. “A guy who doesn’t even have special needs kids help put on this whole event which is awesome!” Halle’s mother Michelle Louviere said.