A Night to Shine for special needs individuals in Gainesville
GAINESVILLE, Texas (KTEN) — Thursday was a Night to Shine as the Gainesville Civic Center was transformed into a magical dance venue for 70 VIPs — people with special needs from all over Texas.
Cooke County was ready to help with more than 25 sponsors for the inaugural event.
"It was fun," said participant Kyle Fuhrmann as he walked down the red carpet.
"Now I've DJ'd Special Olympics, and they always dance at the end," said event organizer Katie "DJ KD" Dieter. "I told my mom, 'We've got to throw a dance for these kids.' Two months later, here we are."
"I was just beaming with pride," said mom Robbie Pagel. "I couldn't stop smiling, yelling... it was just an amazing feeling."
For parents and their kids, it was an event they had been looking forward to.
"It allows them to interact with each other outside of school or Special Olympics," said mom Maria Nava. "It just gives them another out, and then to get to meet people from the surrounding areas."
And this prom wouldn't have been complete without a king and queen.
"If you come here for two hours, you'll come home a new person. It'll change your life," Dieter said. "They literally touch your heart, it's very exciting... might get emotional."
"I hope that we do this every year," Pagel said. "This is just wonderful."
And Dieter pledged that Gainesville's first Night to Shine won't be the last.
"We're going to take it to the next level, so be ready," she said.