The 2015 Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off is set to take place March 20th at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Centre.
The annual community building fundraiser has selected Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre as this year’s partner charity, with Executive Director of Aspire Michelle Sluchinski saying the funds will go towards the much-needed renovation of their building located at 4826 47th St.
Aspire is a charitable organization that provides resources to children with special needs and their families.
Sluchinski explained anything Aspire uses on their assessment and diagnostic floor hasn’t been updated in over 10 years. “That’s going to be the focus of our renovations, but we do plan to update the majority of the building,” she said.
However, Aspire also hopes to allocate funds generated from the Dance Off for future programming as well, added Sluchinski.
“What we’d like to do is be able to meet the needs of more families in our community as we are finding families trying to access some of our programs and services are waiting a long time,” she explained. “When your child is small and you need to know answers right away it is hard to wait, so we’d like to address the needs of these families who are waiting,”
This year’s Dance Off sold out within two weeks of tickets being available, leaving the eight dancers chosen by Dance Off board members to master their moves on the dance floor with the help of their professional dance partners.
This year’s dancers include: Jim Wood (Red Deer County mayor), Robin Armitage (Women of Excellence), Kyla Belich (professional engineer, yoga therapist, Good Earth Coffeehouse owner), Dr. Vivek Cheba (orthodontist), Bill Haldane (businessman), Melisa Milne (Chartered Account and MNP Partner), Luke Spicer (entrepreneur and owner of Creative Concrete) and Judy Sutter (community builder and lifelong learner).
Christine Moore, co-chair for the 2015 Celebrity Dance Off, explained the local celebrities are chosen based on their community involvement and in an attempt to engage a broad spectrum of the community. “We approach them and they are usually very flattered that we’ve asked them and more than willing to work hard for a good cause that builds the community,” said Moore.
“Our eight community leaders will be dancing and sharing their time, talent, and treasure as they have to raise $15,000 to be able to dance in the competition.”
Moore explained the event began in 2012 as a fundraiser for the Red Deer Hospice Society. Since its inception, the Dance Off has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities.
Last year’s event saw a partnership with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer and region, raising over $400,000 to go towards renovations at Camp Alexo near Rocky Mountain House.
“That money was then leveraged by other leaders in town for a big transformation of Camp Alexo and it gained momentum so quickly that what would have cost well over a million dollars was done with the proceeds from the Dance Off,” explained Moore.
“The Dance Off has come to have the power to raise the profile of an organization, which at times can be even more important than the money because once the profile is raised then people know what the organization is and what great work they do, so it’s a win-win.”
For more information on Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre, visit aspirespecialneeds.ca or to pledge to support any of the eight dancers, visit www.celebritydanceoff.ca.