More than 400 party-goers and volunteers danced the night away this Friday during the Night to Shine special needs prom at Ann Arbor’s 2|42 Community Church. 

Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, an organization set up by the professional athlete, the annual event is held all across the world so people with special needs can experience the excitement of prom night in a safe, judgment-free environment. According to the foundation’s website, any person with special needs over the age of 14 can attend and are allowed to bring guests.

2|42 has hosted the party for three years at their Brighton location, but this was the first year it was also held in Ann Arbor.

This was Ann Arbor resident Kylee Claey’s first year as head organizer for the event, but she drew a large crowd by going to all the high schools and special needs centers in Ann Arbor to spread the word. She told MLive the event was all about letting attendees be themselves.

“Everyone just gets to do their own thing and it allows them to be themselves in just a royal way,” Claeys said.

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The night began with each guest receiving the royal treatment — everyone was given a crown as they walked into the party through a tunnel of cheering volunteers. Dinner was served, and the guests danced for the rest of the time.

Last year’s head organizer, Julie Davis, also told MLive the event is important because it shows an often-overlooked group of people that they are valued in the community, and that there is a place for them.

“I think it’s a community of people who have a lot to offer who often get overlooked,” Davis sad. “The idea is to make them feel like the kings and queens that they are. So just let them have a night that’s all about them and not the stereotypes and stigma.”

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