OPELIKA, Ala. — Several groups in East Alabama came together over the weekend to produce a night for the ages. The inaugural Shine Prom took place at the Opelika Sportsplex on Saturday night, giving people of all ages with special needs the opportunity to get the full prom experience, down to every detail.
The event was produced by Chick-fil-A, along with the Hudson Family Foundation and the Opelika Sportsplex.
Over 130 people participated in the event, along with dozens of volunteers and specialists. The guests’ evening included arriving in stretch limos, a full red carpet entrance into the Sportsplex, photo booths and a dance floor, complete with a DJ.
Kim Hudson of the Hudson Family Foundation talked about the excitement that the night brought everyone involved with the Shine Prom. “It’s the first one we’ve had here in our community that we’ve put on, and we just want to create a good time, with lots of dancing, yummy food and desserts, and create a special night for them, that hopefully they have great memories of.”
Dana Stewart, Executive Director of the Exceptional Foundation says the impact the night has on the participants and their families is very important. “When you see them come out of the limo, the smiles on their faces from ear to ear and knowing that it’s all about them and that they can have a prom just like anybody else, it means the world to them and it also means a lot to their families.”
Jonna Chizik of the Chizik Family Foundation spoke to the generosity of the East Alabama community and their excitement to create a special night for all involved. “I have been involved in quite a few projects like Kim, and I have never seen a group of people as a whole come together at a drop of the hat and do stuff for other people in need.”, said Chizik
Several East Alabama personalities were in attendance, such as former Atlanta Braves pitcher and Auburn alum Tim Hudson and current Auburn Baseball coach Butch Thompson. Several local schools were also involved, as members of the Auburn University Baseball and Dance teams volunteered at the event, as well as members of the Opelika and Auburn high school football teams and students from Opelika High, Auburn High and Lee-Scott Academy.