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  • Story and photos by Rae’L Jackson

CCU LIFE Program students participate in a prom night to remember

The LIFE Program, along with Coastal Carolina University student-athletes, participated in a Night to Shine on Feb. 7.

Night to Shine is a prom night for individuals with special needs from ages 14 and older. The Tim Tebow Foundation organizes the event, which is why athletes attend as volunteers. The Rock Church in Conway hosted Night to Shine for the third consecutive year.

Ashley Dorman, a member of The Rock, is the event coordinator for Night to Shine. Dorman was responsible for handling the organization for volunteer teams, guest registration, trainings for volunteers, and communication.

“CCU has partnered with us every year!” she said. “We are overwhelmed by the support from the staff, students, and organizations on campus. Chauncey has made his appearance each year participating in dance battles with the Chick-Fil-A Cow, posing for photos, and stepping up his wardrobe game.”

Students from the LIFE program attended the event for the second time and attracted the largest crowd yet. Tyler Gross is a junior special education major, and she was the overseer for the LIFE program and volunteers’ attendance. She has been a LIFE mentor for three years.

“This year, we had 26 LIFE students and more than 30 volunteers attend the event,” said Gross.

To assist the people with special needs are willing volunteers from all over Conway. The Chanticleer student-athletes chaperoned and danced with their buddies. This year, students and staff from football, cheer, soccer, beach volleyball, lacrosse, softball, baseball and FCA attended the event.

Dorman said the athletes “bring such life to this event! And it’s always humbling to watch a sea of teal in the building.”

All the LIFE students were crowned as kings and queens of the night by queens around the Conway area.

“This event is a moment where the students don’t have to worry about if their disability is going to be a hindrance to their participation, and no matter the disability, they can enjoy the night and have an amazing experience,” said Gross.

According to, Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older. This year was Night to Shine’s sixth anniversary, as more than 721 churches across all 50 states and in 34 countries around the world came together to host an event for approximately 115,000 honored guests through the support of 215,000 volunteers.

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