The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kincardine and District Dancing with the Stars fundraiser has been rescheduled to Aug. 19 and this year, will be held as a virtual event.
The event welcomes local dance teams, composed of a local celebrity and a seasoned dancer, to compete against each other on the dance floor and raise money for BBBS. It was originally scheduled for April of 2021. The 2020 event was cancelled because of COVID restrictions.
“Although we were hoping to be able to bring our community together for another exciting evening of in-person entertainment this year, we have made the decision for the health and safety of our volunteers, supporters and dancers to move to a virtual event,” said Yolanda Ritsema, executive director of BBBSKD.
The first Dancing with the Stars event debuted in 2019, and was a huge success. Bill Pike and Jennifer White topped the podium, and the event raised $12,600.
BBBSKD, along with many other not-for-profit groups, have felt the fundraising pinch since the beginning of the pandemic, when many events were cancelled because of stay-at-home and gathering restrictions. The groups have had to pivot and develop new means to raise much-needed funds.
“The funds from Dancing with the Stars go to support our programs and services,” said Ritsema. “We serve 50 young people in Kincardine and area. Our mission is to enable life-changing mentoring relationships that ignite the power and potential of young people. We serve young people who face adversity and are in need of an additional supportive developmental relationship.”
“With monies raised from our main fundraising programs, like Dancing with the Stars, we are able ignite the power and potential of young people by intentionally recruiting volunteers based on the needs of our community's young people; by matching young people with a professionally screened volunteer mentor; by monitoring and supporting that match with a professional caseworker; by training and supporting the mentor, the mentee and the family; and by building a Developmental Relationship between the mentor and the mentee that Expresses Care, Challenges Growth, Provides Support, Shares Power and Expands Possibilities.”
Ritsema says that having a big brother or sister has a long term effect on their littles. Mentored youth are two times more likely to give back to their community and 81 per cent of mentored youth report having stronger financial literacy. Forty three per cent are less likely to conduct problems at school and 98 per cent believe they make better life choices.
For every $1 invested in Big Brothers Big Sisters, $23 is returned to society.
Ritsema says the volunteer team responsible for organizing the event has been hard at work creating a virtual experience everyone will enjoy. Besides the dance competition, the event will feature an online auction and an “early bird” raffle for Mother’s Day, featuring a pair of Canadian diamond earrings, donated by Gemini Jewellers in Kincardine.
The dancing pairs, Alana Rozon and Murray Needham, Braden Prasad and Patty Coulter, Gord Dunbar and Sally Ballard, Sarah and Keith Foster and John Binnendyk and Karen Maliseni, will each perform two routines, which will be judged by Michael Rencheck, Jessica Brown and Taylor Pollard. John Low will serve as the master of ceremonies.
“We have five wonderful dance couples who have been working so hard for several months to bring you an incredible night of performances,” said Linda Johnson, Dancing with the Stars team captain. “This event will still sparkle and thrill our audience as they watch from the comfort of their homes.”
Updates and tickets for the event will go on sale in the coming months. More information can be found by visiting www.kincardine.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca and checking the social media page.
Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent