Dancing with the Big Stars (DWTBS) has brought a countless number of people together on Saturday, November 15 to raise money and awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mercer, Auglaize, and Van Wert Counties (BBBS). The first time ever event recruited “stars” including marketing managers, police officers, superintendents, and everyone in between to not only raise money on behalf of BBBS but perform on the dance floor at the Overdrive in front of more than five hundred community members.
When the idea of the event came about, a list of professional dancers and star dancers was formed. Some of the dancers will tell you they were begged or forced into the event, while others will tell you they enjoy dancing and it is for a great cause. Now that everything is all over, all the dancers agree that it was an awesome experience and they are so glad they did it.
“This is the first time our agency has done an event like this. It was a huge risk to put this much time and effort into something without knowing the outcome,” stated Abby Balster, Executive Director of BBBS. “We are so glad we did. The community was very supportive of our dancers and their fundraising efforts.”
Before the event even started the dancers had already raised over $5,000. Balster says that the amount of funds that came in throughout the day was astounding. Over $7,000 was collected in just a few hours.
“The goal of Big Brothers Big Sisters was to raise $10,000 for youth mentoring, and we surpassed that by another $10,000. So in total we raised over $20,000 for kids in Mercer, Auglaize, & Van Wert counties,” expressed Balster.
Jeff Knapke (star) and Janessa Schwieterman (professional) were busy fundraising and asking family and friends to support their efforts. All their hard work paid off in the end, as they went home with the Big Star Award, for raising the most money for BBBS. They were able to raise over $3,500 as a couple.
The judges, Jane Diller, Lucy Staugler, and Eric Wellman, also had their work cut out for them that evening as well. All the dancers brought their “A” game. It was such a tough decision that the Judges’ Choice Award ended in a tie. Shelly Vaughn (star) and Ron Rindler (professional) and Pete Lisi (star) and Ashley Etzkorn (professional) both had the exact same score from the judges. Both couples received the Judges’ Choice Award for their tremendous performance.
“We cannot express our thanks enough to all of those who donated or helped to make this event a huge success,” said Balster. “We are so glad there are businesses like F1 Sound, Romer’s Catering, Anew You, Visions, G D Garman Photography, and Mr. Shoppe that helped to make this event happen. “
If you would like to “see” or remember this event, you are able to order a DVD for $10. Call 419-394-2990 or send a check with your name and phone number by November 30 to place your order.
The ultimate goal of this fundraiser was to help youth in the community. BBBS will be using the money to match the 35 children on their waiting list with a Big and to support all five of their youth mentoring programs. For more information about becoming a Big or enrolling a child contact BBBS at 419-394-2990 or by e-mail at email@example.com.