We’re all broken people. Some of us just hide our brokenness better than others.
Those words stung as my pastor said them last Tuesday night at the volunteer meeting for Shine.
Shine is a party my church, Flatirons Community Church, puts on for people with special needs. It’s a party for people who have never attended prom, or for people that need to know they are special and loved too. It’s a party I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer at for the four times we’ve put Shine on, and each year, I walk away with a heart overflowing with joy. I’m pretty sure my smile doesn’t leave my face that whole night. You just look around and can’t help but smile and laugh as you see and can feel the amount of joy in that room.
My heart has always beat for people with special needs. I’ve been surrounded by people in my life that remind me and keep me grounded about what really matters in life. So participating in Shine has always been something I look forward to.
This year my part in Shine included greeting and handing out nametags to the guests as they stepped out of their cars, and sometimes even limos! We cheered them on as they walked down the red carpet and entered the church building that was decorated with a Superhero theme, complete with the bat mobile, superheroes walking around etc etc!
Right after arriving, guests are fed a meal and then can play games throughout the night as well as listen to a live band and DANCE! They can also have a professional picture taken and everyone gets a swag bag at the end of the night too! Guests were given superhero capes and masks as well as items to make them glow and sparkle like glow necklaces and tiaras!
Each guest is allowed to bring one caretaker with them, and the caretaker can go to the caretaker’s suite to be pampered if they choose. Each guest also is given an escort who will be with them the whole night and who will dance the night away with them. Last I heard, there was around 1,800 guests that came and a couple thousand volunteers that helped put on the night. Wow!
At the end of the night my heart was full. Very full. And I was reminded again of my pastor’s words. Yes, we’re all broken people. But no matter what our brokenness, we all need love and deserve to have fun and be invited to the party, and that’s what Shine is all about. Showing God’s love to others and making sure they know that they matter.
— Michaela Jenkins