By JESSALYN KIRCHHOFF
Tiger Media Network
Night to Shine is a nationwide program that hosts proms for individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). According to event organizers, Night to Shine Hays had over 170 guests from 17 towns and 15 counties in 2018 and 2019 in central and northwest Kansas and was celebrated by over 500 volunteers before being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
To keep the event alive, Night to Shine Hays hosted the parade through downtown Hays before returning to the in-person event last year.
“For our guests, this night includes a red carpet, promenade, dinner, games, limo rides, dancing, and at the end of the night, each guest is crowned king and queen,” Night to Shine Leadership Team member Addie Roth said. “Each guest receives a buddy for the night. Volunteers will be placed with their guest to be their buddy for the night and go through the night with them.”
Roth said this event has been happening worldwide since 2015 and that Night to Shine officially made it to Hays in 2018. While Night to Shine is rounding out almost a decade, Roth said the main purpose of this event has stayed the same over the years, no matter the location.
“The main purpose of this event has always been for our guests to know how much they are loved and appreciated within their specific communities,” she said.
Roth said volunteers are one of the most important parts of Night to Shine.
“With this event, we are able to really allow people to connect with the IDD community in and around the Hays area,” she said. “That is why our volunteers are so important. Most of the volunteers that we get are either FHSU students or staff members. We seriously could not put on this night without Fort Hays.”
Roth wants to thank all of the Night to Shine Hays sponsors and volunteers who help make this event possible every year.
“We really could not do it without all of you,” she said. Night to Shine Hays is still currently looking for more volunteers. For those interested in volunteering, the last day to sign up is tomorrow. Potential volunteers can sign up here https://www.nighttoshinehays.org/about.