Parkland Press

Friday, June 5, 2020
Nicole Pilewski of Cedar Crest College leads a dance with Austin and others. Nicole Pilewski of Cedar Crest College leads a dance with Austin and others.
Mason Minnex is accompanied by Tara Morrow of Bethlehem. Mason Minnex is accompanied by Tara Morrow of Bethlehem.
Chris from Coplay is accompanied by Tammy Post of Bethlehem. Chris from Coplay is accompanied by Tammy Post of Bethlehem.
Jason Talbot and Christine Stauffer escorted Beth Anne at the Night to Shine gala. Jason Talbot and Christine Stauffer escorted Beth Anne at the Night to Shine gala.
Owen Smith, of Newtown, gets a little help with his boutonniere from his mom, Bette Jo Smith. Owen Smith, of Newtown, gets a little help with his boutonniere from his mom, Bette Jo Smith.
Alea Oakman of Lehigh University accompanied Michael Meier of New Ringgold. Alea Oakman of Lehigh University accompanied Michael Meier of New Ringgold.
The Flower Committee for Night to Shine included Andrea Ruff of Mertztown, Denise Christman of Alburtis, Connie Maxwell of Breinigsville, Stella Barr of Orefield, Luann Matika of Kutztown, and Angela Mazzola of Northampton. The Flower Committee for Night to Shine included Andrea Ruff of Mertztown, Denise Christman of Alburtis, Connie Maxwell of Breinigsville, Stella Barr of Orefield, Luann Matika of Kutztown, and Angela Mazzola of Northampton.
Hallie Kunkel of Kutztown, Lauren Curley of Cranston, N.J., and Clara Aparicio of Easton volunteered their cosmetology skills to support the Night to Shine celebration. Hallie Kunkel of Kutztown, Lauren Curley of Cranston, N.J., and Clara Aparicio of Easton volunteered their cosmetology skills to support the Night to Shine celebration.
Karaoke singing was a hit with these party goers. Karaoke singing was a hit with these party goers.
PRESS PHOTOS BY DOUGLAS GRAVESNight to Shine revelers enjoy the music during the annual gala. PRESS PHOTOS BY DOUGLAS GRAVESNight to Shine revelers enjoy the music during the annual gala.
Ian Foerst and Hannah Gesicki, both from Emmaus, enjoy the moment when Ian is crowned King of Night to Shine. Every special guest received a king’s crown or a queen’s crown. They were all treated like royalty. Ian Foerst and Hannah Gesicki, both from Emmaus, enjoy the moment when Ian is crowned King of Night to Shine. Every special guest received a king’s crown or a queen’s crown. They were all treated like royalty.

Bringing everyone

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 by Douglas Graves Special to The Press in Local News

“Owen had never met her, but he watched others and he knew that escorting a beautiful girl in her best dress down the red carpet was something totally special that he wanted to do,” said Owen’s mother, Bette Jo Smith of Newtown.

The proud mom was responding to a question; “What has this event meant to you and your son?”

The special evening was a time when special needs young men and women, age 14 and older, were feted at a special gala evening with all the glitz and glamour and star treatment that the organizers could muster.

“Owen can’t talk to us and say that he wants to do what other kids do. But there are ways that he shows us. He loves to dress in his tuxedo.

“He loved the boutonniére that they gave him,” Bette Jo said.

“And when we reached the door to be welcomed by the Night to Shine staff, Owen suddenly put his arm out to escort a lovely girl next to him who was also attending all dressed in her finery.”

Volunteer “buddies” escorted each of the 150 guests from the limousines that delivered them to Allentown’s Palace Center and down the red carpet where they made grand entrances under a festive balloon arch. Enthusiastic fans greeted each star with applause and cheers.

More than 625 people were involved in making this year’s Night to Shine a success for the special needs men and women who were the guests of honor at the Feb. 7 event, according to a spokesperson for Riverbend Community Church which, along with the Love Ran Red Foundation, sponsored and organized the lavish event.

This year, Night to Shine celebrated its sixth anniversary. According to the Tim Tebow Foundation’s website, on this one night, 721 churches from around the world came together to host Night to Shine for approximately 115,000 guests with the support of 215,000 volunteers.

Luann Matika of Kutztown and former human resources chief for Northwestern School District was there helping with the flowers. It was a big job: boutonnieres, corsages, floral arrangements for the table center pieces.

Lauren Curley, owner of Styles Street of Cranford, N.J., was there as one of the support team. She and two of her colleagues was enthusiastic about the event. She wants to expand the concept.

“Participating in Night to Shine is wonderful,” said Curley. “I am able to give back and educate guest parents about a nonprofit I’m creating called Cuts with Care.

“Currently, Cuts with Care is only at my salon on the last Sunday of the month. I schedule appointments for anyone with special needs. Including but not limited to: autism, Alzheimer’s, dementia, social anxiety and more. It allows each guest a longer service time in a quieter setting with limited and compassionate staff.

“My goal is to have it not just in my salon but other salons by Night to Shine 2021!”