On Friday night, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a Night to Shine event in my area.

Night to Shine is an prom sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation for special needs adults and kids.

Since posting my activities from that night, I’ve received so many compliments on how great it is to volunteer my time to help others. While I appreciate that people are trying to be nice, they clearly don’t get it. If you have ever had the privilege of working with special needs you know what I’m saying.

Night to Shine: The Blessed Prom Samantha on the Red CarpetThis event was magical! Every detail had been clearly thought out.

There was a DJ, Build-a-Bear, karaoke, food drinks, amazing decor to put any traditional prom to shame.

My job was to open the car door and help each prom guest walk down the red carpet surrounded by clapping people and paparazzi to meet their buddy/date for the evening.

What a rush?!

Think about what it would feel like to walk down the red carpet. It doesn’t matter that the praise and adoration isn’t for you. It’s exhilarating and fun! And after I finished escorting the first attendee, I got to do the whole thing again.

How fun is that?

But that wasn’t the unexpected joy of the evening.

Every time I greeted a new guest, they hugged me like I was their best friend. They grabbed my hand and walked me down the red carpet! They introduced me to their buddy. They were so excited to see me later in the evening. For that moment, I was the most important person in their life.

How can that kind of love and excitement be anything but a blessing for ME? We need more of that kind of genuine kindness in the world. They didn’t care what I was wearing, what I had done all day long, how much money I had or if they had ever met me before. They just showed me true love and friendship. How can that be anything but a blessing for ME?

I fully intended to volunteer at this event to help others. Many of you know my passion is to help others learn what I was blessed to learn after years of cruel bullying, that I am enough!

Night to Shine: The Blessed Prom blog title overlayI am ok just the way God created me.

But this time, I was the one blessed by the events of the evening.

I am truly grateful for the experience and am already planning to be more involved in the future. My reason for blogging this today Valentine’s Day is to encourage anyone reading to volunteer just once for a special needs event. It doesn’t have to be some big grand ball, it can just be an everyday happening, but you will find that the blessing you receive is far greater than anything you can give. But even more importantly on the day of love I’m hoping we will all start showing more genuine kindness to everyone who crosses your path. Imagine what this world would be if we could be just a little more kind EVERYDAY!

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