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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Night to Shine: Back and Better than Ever

Shine like never before

By Rachel Kelly

Photo by Chris Ballasiotes

night to shine gig harbor

This year's Night to Shine, hosted by Harbor Christian Center at the Tom Taylor YMCA, is back and ready to shine its light on the people who deserve it most!

For those of you who haven’t yet heard, Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience for guests with special needs ages 14 and older. Because prom night in schools is not often an event that individuals with special needs can attend, Night to Shine is an event catered just for them. This year's 220 Kings and Queens are invited to the Night to Shine event on February 9, just in time for Valentine’s! This year, especially, is sure to stun, as its theme is to be “shinier than ever before”!

Back are the limo rides, the free professional hair and makeup, karaoke, and the crowning of Kings and Queens. Much of the same considerations are made toward special needs such as sensory rooms, bathroom attendants, a special one-on-one buddy system, dance teams, and red carpet attendants. Parents and caretakers are invited to relax as well in a separate lounge meant to facilitate rest, with delicious food, music, and optional relaxing activities such as massage therapy.

Every year there are always new and fun creative tweaks that are made, making every year a true celebration of the unique characteristics of the people who attend this special prom night. This year guests will get to enjoy confetti guns and a balloon drop! There is also a lot of additional community involvement, such as the support of the City of Gig Harbor, the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor, and PenMet Parks. Additional churches have gotten on board as well, including Gig Harbor Church of the Nazarene and Chapel Hill. All this support has really helped with volunteers and has allowed the event organizers to step up their game.

For instance, this year there will be catered food for both guests and their caretakers. There will be love bomb signs everywhere, which are protest picket signs filled with words of encouragement meant to shout out positive words that lift up instead of tear down. There will also be additional provisions for a wider audience of special needs, such as noise-canceling headphones provided for guests with certain auditory sensitivities.

There may be a lot of additional partnerships this year, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for additional involvement by the greater community! The 2024 Night to Shine event is still in need of upward of 400 volunteers, accounting for allowing an additional 20 guests to attend. If you’re interested in being involved with this year's event, or if you know of someone who might want to attend, you can find out more information at, or you can email your questions to We hope to see you there!

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