More than 260 guests, professional dancers, and local celebrities toted their dancing shoes to the Hilton Garden Inn — Southpointe for The Watchful Shepherd’s third annual Dancing for a Cause! The national nonprofit, based in Peters Township, exceeded its fundraising goal with more than $50,000 raised for the fight against child abuse. Funds stemmed from ticket sales, silent and Chinese auctions, dancers’ efforts, and votes, as the event is modeled after “Dancing with the Stars,” with a fundraising spin. Celebrity dancers — myself included! — were chosen, then gifted with 10 lessons at Arthur Murray Dance Studio to work with a professional instructor and master a routine. I had the pleasure of dancing the vibrant Samba with Mateo Hobbs, in a costume designed and handmade by Denielle DeSantis of Exhibit-D. Emceed by Master of Ceremonies Bracken Burns, six couples took the floor consecutively, exciting the audience in succession! Combined with funds raised, Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan and her partner Tim Hassett took home the People’s Choice Award for their Cha-Cha. Vaughan and Danielle Andy Belusko tied for the Judge’s Choice Award after combining scores and funds raised. Judges included David and Ashley Geidel, owners of Arthur Murray, and Cami Hulin, owner of Dance By Cami. “The board and I were overwhelmed with the continued, generous community support for joining our mission,” says Executive Director Donna Nardine. “Watching the dance competition, eating delicious food, and bidding on all of the fantastic auction items made the evening an enjoyable time for all!”

View and purchases photos from this event and others in the WHIRL PhotoVault:

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