ADU dancers raise awareness, funds for Family Promise

Waiting for their cues to perform are, front, Alex Robinson, Sierra Howard, Hayley Montague and Kathlyn Collins; and at back, Dana Gizzi, Carrie Kramar, Ashley Blevins, Kaitlin Madgett, Emily Nicholson and Collin Lawrence.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Waiting for their cues to perform are, front, Alex Robinson, Sierra Howard, Hayley Montague and Kathlyn Collins; and at back, Dana Gizzi, Carrie Kramar, Ashley Blevins, Kaitlin Madgett, Emily Nicholson and Collin Lawrence.

More than $7,000 was raised earlier this summer as members of Artistic Dance Unlimited presented “Dancing for a Cause” to benefit Family Promise of Blount County.

Kathi Parkins, executive director for Family Promise of Blount County, praised the ADU dancers for their efforts. “I thought it was outstanding. They’re fabulous and professional. You wouldn’t have known they were a local dance company. They’re very talented and accomplished,” she said.

Parkins said it was a chance to share the Family Promise story with folks who may not have known about it and a chance for ADU to showcase their talents to a different audience. “It was a great opportunity for us, and I think there were folks who came to the benefit who may not have otherwise gone to an ADU event,” Parkins said.

Parkins said those who attended the show were generous. “All the money that came in was not just in ticket sales that night,” she said. “Others who were affiliated with ADU and came to know about the benefit they were doing gave money directly to Family Promise,” she said. “In all, it was about $7,000.”

Artistic Dance Unlimited co-founder Ursula Margolis said the crowd almost hit 500 the night of the event on June 1. “The kids danced fabulously. It was all our competition kids, so they’re so used to performing under pressure,” Margolis said. “It was a longer show than a recital show because we had 55 competitive routines this year. Because it was mainly kids who are used to performing, they were on and off stage fast, so it ran very quickly. We were glad of that.”

Margolis said she and co-founder Alette Chase were happy with the show. “I think the most important thing was it created awareness for Family Promise and got their name out there in ways they probably wouldn’t normally have done. They were able to reach people with the Family Promise message that they may not have reached in other kinds of fundraisers,” she said.

Family Promise of Blount County celebrated its second anniversary in June. Since opening, it has helped 27 families which includes 46 children. The mission of Family Promise is to assist families to transition from homelessness to lasting stability and independence. “We do this by partnering with 29 local congregations and many community agencies,” Parkins said. “Family Promise can accommodate a maximum of four families at a time. They are referred to us by other social service agencies and area churches. The average length of stay in our network is 73 days and 80 percent of our families achieve success by finding employment and affordable housing.”

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