Since October of last year I have been working with First Baptist Church of Woodstock on becoming Special Needs Certified and training their 1,000+ volunteers for the Tim Tebow Foundation Night to Shine event. First Baptist Church of Woodstock has become the largest church in the country to be Special Needs Certified. The cost for any business to become Special Needs Certified is nominal and there is honestly no reason why a business should not want to learn and educate themselves about the largest group in our society today. At one point during a meeting I was asked, “Lindsey, how can you survive off of doing this, when you are barely charging anyone to become Certified?” My answer was simple, but genuine, “My hope is to have a positive effect on society before my time is up and I don’t want to give anyone a reason why they would not want to spread Love and Acceptance. I believe and trust that my wife and I will be taken care of financially as long as I remember and stay true to the reason I started this company.”
Last Friday was Night to Shine and around 2:00 in the afternoon, I received a text from the church asking if I would be available to hang out with a young man and his two guests at the event. I of course said. “yes” and I had the pleasure of meeting and befriending Timothy Duggan. Timothy was recently diagnosed with AML Leukemia and had an intense week of treatments and his white blood cell count was extremely low. I was informed that he could not be out in the crowd for long periods of time so they wanted to make sure he had people to keep him company. Once Timothy and his guests arrived, we were able to have a private room in order to take breaks and give Timothy a chance to lie down and rest. As the evening wore on Timothy let us know that he wanted to go onto the dance floor. I knew Timothy’s energy would fade quickly so once on the dance floor we made the most of it. The evening was just about to come to an end when an announcement was made that Tim Tebow had just arrived. I looked at my guest Timothy to see if he was excited, but instead I could tell it was time for a rest break. Escorting Timothy through a crowd of people when Tim Tebow is in the room felt like I was a secret service agent, but we made it safely to our quiet room with a nice sofa and television where we could watch what was happening on the dance floor.
Feeling the sense of disappointed in the room, I decided to send a couple of text messages to see if I could pull off a surprise for Timothy. A few minutes later I, received a phone call letting me know Tebow was on his way up to visit with us. Tebow arrived and it was a great encounter, we shared stories, took pictures and even circled up and did the Nae Nae. That’s right, we did the Nae Nae with Tim Tebow. Tebow was a genuine class act and truly took the time to get to know Timothy. As we were walking to the car Timothy looked at me and excitedly proclaims, “Lindsey! We rocked it tonight.” and gave me a high five. I let Timothy know that we would stay in touch and I’ve already be in contact with his mom about he and I hanging out again soon. Although we met Tebow and had a ton of fun, the evening and this entire journey has been about making people feel Love and Acceptance, teaching society about inclusion, and learning how to create amazing friendships.
Staying focused on the mission of Special Needs Communities and not our bottom line is the reason I believe we’ve been able to have the impact that we’ve had in such a short amount of time. I encourage everyone to realize that regardless of who you are or what you do, you can change the World. All you have to do is believe in your dreams, never give up and remember every life’s important. All the rest will work itself out.
This post was written by: Lindsey Turner, Founder of Special Needs Communities
To learn more about Timothy Duggan, like his Facebook Page
To learn more about Tim Tebow Foundation visit www.timtebowfoundation.org