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The Ozark Visitor

Events and Activities Calendar

News from Hard Work U.®

Valorie Coleman
Public Relations Director
College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, MO 65726
Office: (417) 690-2212

February 13, 2018

College of the Ozarks hosts Night to Shine for guests with special needs

C of O student with Night to Shine guestNaomi Ellis, junior business marketing major, enjoys the third annual Night to Shine at College of the Ozarks with her guest, Carie Kasten.

C of O student Night to Shine guest.Brittany Weaver, senior Christian ministry and public relations double major, is paired as a “buddy” with Mishelle Woods.

C of O student enjoys Night to Shine a special guest who also is his brother.Austin Kelbaugh, senior psychology and family studies/social work double major, is paired with his brother, Victor Kelbaugh.

Special guest dances at Night to Shine event.Each special guest of Night to Shine is crowned king or queen of the prom-like event. Once donned as royalty, Kai Turpen dances the night away.

Event marks third year for partnership with Tim Tebow Foundation

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks hosted its third annual Night to Shine, sponsored by Tim Tebow Foundation, on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in the Silver Dollar City Parlor at The Keeter Center from 6 to 9 p.m.

The prom-like event provided an evening to remember for the 100 guests with special needs in Stone and Taney Counties. More than 250 College of the Ozarks faculty, staff, and students volunteered to help with the festivities — helping with hair and makeup, providing shoe shines, greeting the guests as they entered on the red carpet, and serving as “buddies,” or chaperones, for the entire evening.

Naomi Ellis, junior business marketing major, was paired with Carie Kasten for the evening.

“Getting to spend a fun night like this with Carie was an unexplainable blessing,” Ellis said. “We had so much fun eating and dancing our hearts out! We are both so thankful to the Tim Tebow Foundation for making this night happen.”

During the event, each guest was prom king or queen for the night and received a crown or tiara.

“The most special part of the evening was the presentation of the crowns,” said Brittany Weaver, senior Christian ministry and public relations double major. “In that moment, there were no differences between us. Everyone was royalty.”

Weaver was paired with Mishelle Woods.

Night to Shine is a worldwide movement changing Valentine’s Day weekend into a celebration of God’s love of people with special needs. This year, more than 540 churches from around the world came together to host Night to Shine for approximately 90,000 honored guests through the support of 175,000 volunteers.

“We were excited to host Night to Shine again this year at College of the Ozarks,” said Dr. Justin Carswell, vice president for Christian ministries. “Being connected with this foundation helps us be part of an international movement to share God’s love with those families and communities who are often forgotten. I hope each guest had the best night of their year at Night to Shine.”

Bond of brothers

Austin Kelbaugh, senior psychology and family studies/social services double major, paired with his brother, honored guest Victor Kelbaugh. Victor’s parents, Jay and Becci Kelbaugh, were happy to see the bond of brothers on this special night. For them, to know Victor is having fun is all they needed.

“It’s huge,” Becci said. “There is no greater feeling.”

Becci and Jay also took advantage of a moment to be together in a respite area set aside for caregivers.

“It’s a date night for us. We get to feel special, too!” 

A VIP event

Guests for this year’s invitation-only Night to Shine event were chosen with the help of several agencies in Taney and Stone Counties that provide services to people with special needs. Participating agencies include the following:

  • Barnabas Prep
  • Chances of Stone County
  • Developmental Connections/ Tantone Industries
  • LinkAbility
  • New Hope Development/ Cedar Creek Coffee

“Night to Shine is truly an amazing opportunity for our honored guests with special needs,” said Cathy Brown, director of service coordination, LinkAbility. “And even more than that, it is also an opportunity for parents to get together and to bond and share experiences.”

About Tim Tebow

Tebow is a two-time national champion, first round NFL draft pick, and Heisman trophy winner. Tebow played three years in the NFL for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and New England Patriots. He grew up the son of missionaries, and even after moving to Florida as a child, he returned to the Philippines as a teenager — to spread God’s word, and do the Lord’s work, by serving the needy. He carried that calling with him to the University of Florida, where in addition to leading the Gators to two national championships and winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007, he also devoted himself to charity — raising money for pediatric cancer patients and disadvantaged children.

About Tim Tebow Foundation

The Tim Tebow Foundation exists to bring Faith, Hope, and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. That mission is being fulfilled every day through the foundation’s seven areas of outreach, including Adoption Aid, Night to Shine, Orphan Care, Team Tebow, Tebow CURE Hospital, Timmy’s Playrooms, and W15H. For more information on the Tim Tebow Foundation, please visit

For additional information, contact Public Relations Director Valorie Coleman at (417) 690-2212.

About College of the Ozarks

College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Best Value Regional College in the Midwest and No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2018. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.

The Keeter Center — the College’s award-winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility — was ranked a Top Small Hotel in the U.S. by TripAdvisor for 2018. It features historic lodging, fine dining, and meeting rooms. With more than 350 student workers, it is the largest work station on campus. Follow College of the Ozarks at or on Twitter @CofOHardWorkU.


02.09.18 – Michael Galioto and Valorie Coleman



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