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Dancing for a Cause

Tom Sullivan

February 1, 2018
Tom Sullivan

Our CEO Tom Sullivan will be putting on his dancing shoes to raise money for Young Audiences, a non-profit organization. Here’s why he’s stepping out of his comfort zone and how you can support the cause.

 

I have attended scores of fundraising galas over the years and have enjoyed participating in the causes they support. Last year, I was invited to attend the annual gala of a non-profit organization called Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. My wife and I not only had the most fun we’ve ever had at a gala, but we were truly inspired by what we saw.

 

Young Audiences is an organization that has dedicated itself to providing art programs to students of every socioeconomic background, geographic area, and ability over the last 45 years. Their education programs have touched the lives of over 12 million children across the country. Young Audiences is founded on the idea that every child deserves the opportunity to foster their creativity and explore the arts no matter what background they come from. The New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania chapter raises over one million dollars each year to support the programs and initiatives of Young Audiences. It has become the largest affiliate chapter in the country.

 

At last year’s gala, referred to as the “Dazzle Mad Hot Ballroom,” a group of children from Camden, NJ performed a dance they choreographed themselves. The dance was very moving and thought provoking. As they told their story it was clear to us that these children’s lives had been forever shaped for the positive by Young Audiences. They had the opportunity to work with instructors to learn dance and express their own points of view about the world in which they live in the most authentic and vulnerable way. These children also demonstrated fearlessness and courage as they performed for a mostly upscale audience of donors, people who would normally be worlds apart from them. And they shined a light on all of us.

 

Several months later, I was asked to participate in this year’s gala as a Dazzle Dancer. I was asked to be one of four Central Jersey business and community leaders to be paired with professional dancers to learn various styles of ballroom dancing and to compete for the disco trophy while raising as much money as we could for Young Audience’s programming. I was first surprised and then trepidation followed.

 

The only dance I’m comfortable doing is my legacy 1970s style rock and roll, which gets to be practiced every few years at a wine-stimulated wedding. When I agreed to participate as a dancer to raise funds for this inspirational organization I didn’t consider how this might begin to change me. I have had five dancing lessons so far and have discovered that it’s not easy, it makes my brain hurt, and tests my confidence. However, I am beginning to get the hang of the Foxtrot. My teacher, Dasha, a young professional who hails from Russia, is truly terrific and patient with an old guy like me.

 

This year, the fifth annual Dazzle Mad Hot Ballroom dance competition and gala will be celebrating 45 years of this inspiring organization. I am honored and looking forward to being a participant in an event that supports all of the important work and dedication of Young Audiences. I am asking all my friends and associates to click on this link to be inspired from the kids from Camden. If you feel what I do, I know you will, you may be included to donate a $10 vote for me or participate in another way.

 

Camden Students Performance 2017:

 

To Vote or Participate:

https://dazzleya.org

 

Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania:

http://yanjep.org