Special Night for Two Shining Stars
In February, two friends had the night of their lives. Charlene and Linda took part in a Night to Shine, a prom night experience specifically for people living with developmental disabilities. The event his year was held at Horizon Church in Surrey.
Charlene and Linda have been friends and house mates for over a decade. They live together in a Home Share arranged through Communitas Supportive Care Society, sharing a home with David and Sandra Frazier and their family. When Charlene brought home a paper about Night to Shine, Sandra knew this was something both women would love to do.
I was super excited for both Charlene and Linda to have this opportunity. – Sandra, Home Share Provider
The two friends are quite different from one another. Sandra describes Linda as a “social butterfly” who loves chatting with friends, meeting new people, and dressing up. Charlene prefers quiet activities like reading, journaling, and watching movies. Both women love to be out in community, so Sandra knew this would be a special opportunity for them. Knowing that the women would be really excited about the event, Sandra waited until a week before to tell them they were going. As predicted, they were beside themselves with excitement.
Getting ready was half the fun. Charlene wore a pretty pink chiffon gown with a matching pink stole. Linda wore an elegant beige dress with matching jacket. They had their nails professionally done, which made them both feel special. Sandra did their hair and make-up for the evening but the event also had a booth where they could get touch-ups done. There were other stations at a Night to Shine including a photo booth and a karaoke room for participants to enjoy. Each person who attended received a tiara or a crown, as a way to acknowledge them as stars of the evening. Charlene and Linda each had specific highlights.
“My favourite part of the evening was the limousine ride and the karaoke room,” Charlene says.
Linda loves sweets so was really happy to enjoy cookies and punch. But it was the personal touch that stood out for her.
“My favourite part was walking down the red carpet and hearing the policemen cheer my name,” she says.
Because they’ve been together with Sandra for so many years, she has really come to appreciate what each of these women bring to her life.
“What I appreciate about Linda the most is that she is a funny, fun loving, affectionate person who is friendly and kind to everyone she meets,” Sandra says. “As for Charlene, her quiet way is a contrast but she surprises us on occasion with some really clever humour. She has an obvious love for the Lord as she reads her devotional every day and loves to listen to worship music.”
Sandra has almost 35 years of experience with people who have special needs. She has provided respite care for adults with developmental disabilities. Before she had children of her own, she worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at Mouat Senior Secondary School in Abbotsford, working specifically with youth who have special needs. She’s been a Home Share provider for almost 16 years. Having Charlene and Linda as part of her family has been an enriching experience.
“What I am learning from both of them is to enjoy life in the moment, not to stress about things and to be more laid back,” she reflects. “They’re teaching me that there is always something to look forward to.”
And every once in a while, the thing you look forward to is something truly special like a Night to Shine. Sandra encourages others to consider this special event. Night to Shine happens every February, but early registration in fall is encouraged. It is open to anyone over the age of 16 living with developmental disabilities.