Night to Shine trains volunteers

Posted at 10:15 PM, Feb 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-05 22:15:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- It's that time of year again for a special group of party animals. With Tallahassee's 4th annual Night to Shine just days away, hundreds of volunteers are busy preparing.

The annual Night to Shine is a prom hosted by Genesis Church of Tallahassee. This Friday night is all about giving the full prom experience to those with special needs. An event volunteer, Jennifer Pyburn, says, "I love to see the smiles on their faces and the joy that just coming to this event brings to them. They'll leave the night of asking when's the next prom?"

Volunteers attended a mandatory training session Monday night to learn how to interact and assist guests with special needs. The prom works on a buddy system, so each guest will have a trained volunteer with them all night.

This isn't just any prom. All these volunteers are needed to cover the different activities at the event. They split into groups for more specific training to ensure all guests enjoy the night to their fullest extent.

Attendees can get their make-up done, go to the music therapy and karaoke rooms, or just stay on the dance floor. Coordinators say the training session is important because volunteers learn how to handle a variety of situations.

The Director of Special Needs for the event, Rachel Ritter, tells us, "If you notice that your guest is getting agitated, what's the response? And so we have what we call a respite room and we have several of them. So that if someone needs to escape from the noise and the hustle and bustle of the event, they can do that."

Night to Shine will be held at the Centre of Tallahassee Friday from 6:00 to 9:00. This year, 500 guests will be at the event, a tremendous turnout for an unforgettable night, exactly what prom is meant to be.  

If you would like to be a volunteer, there's still time to sign up. Visit the Genesis Church website at