The former NFL quarterback's foundation will sponsor Night to Shine events around the globe
Certain things come to mind when one thinks about a prom. Limo rides. Prom gowns. Corsages. Dancing. Tim Tebow.
Wait. Tim Tebow?
On Feb. 13, the Tim Tebow Foundation will sponsor 45 simultaneous Night to Shine prom events in 26 different states, as well as two locations in Uganda and Kenya. More than 7,000 people with special needs will dress up in tuxes and prom gowns for what’s likely to be their first prom experience in their lives. Thousands of volunteers have signed up to make the events happen around the globe.
“It’s not just me; it’s not just our Foundation,” Tebow says exclusively to PEOPLE, “but it is all 45 churches and volunteers in 26 states, three countries, coming together to show love and make a difference in more than 7,000 lives.”
The vision for this idea came after members of Tebow’s foundation experienced a similar event last year at a local church. “After seeing the smiles on their faces and the way it impacted their whole family, we were certain this was an event that needed to be shared with the rest of the country,” says Erik Dellenback, executive director of the Tim Tebow Foundation. “We wondered what would happen if we challenged churches to step up and make a difference in the lives of these special children, and the response was incredible.”
The organization is putting their money where their mouth is, footing the nearly $600,000 bill to provide the traditional trappings of a prom, including photographers, limousine rides, hair and makeup beauty stations, food and a dance floor.
And there’s more: Tebow, one of PEOPLE’s 2014 Sexiest Men Alive, will surprise the kids by showing up at one of the venues. We predict he’ll be the perfect prom date.
The Night to Shine event is one of many facets of Tebow’s foundation. Last month, the foundation opened a hospital in the Philippines. The Florida-based organization also includes Timmy’s Playrooms in children’s hospitals, the W15H program, and Orphan Care, a program that provides grants to families adopting children with special needs.
“It should always be about helping others,” Tebow told PEOPLE in November. “It’s important to do something bigger than yourself.”
And as for the Night to Shine, Tebow is eagerly anticipating the special night – and plans to make it an annual event. “Jesus is going to shine on this night,” says Tebow, a devout Christian, “and the special needs community will shine on this night. That is what is so special about this.”