First Annual Kickoff Gala for Dancing for a Cause

Darian Graivshark
Attendees of the First Annual Dancing for a Cause Kick-Off on the dance floor.

On March 29, The Arc of East Ascension hosted their first Dancing for a Cause Kick-Off Gala at the Clarion Inn in Gonzales.

"This is our first Kick-Off Gala, and it's the first event amongst a series of other events before the actual Dancing for a Cause event," Liz Fussell, Executive Director of The Arc, said. "I look forward to the next few months towards the fundraiser."

The room was filled with purple and gold. Purple symbolizes a new positive narrative about the contribution of disabled people. It can help in building communities and challenging outdated perceptions and prejudices.

Retired Sheriff Jeff Wiley was the guest speaker for the night, and spoke light on how having a grandchild with a disability really changed his life.

"Our family is so much better with her (Alexandra), we don't know what we would do without her now," Wiley said. "She's changed our lives in great ways, and we owe her for that. She adds value and shows us the importance on inclusion and having fun."

To Wiley, putting your money in the Arc is a blessing, because they need that money to continue giving to those in the community with disabilities. Additionally, those who help the Arc do it out of the kindness of their heart. Many of them on a volunteer basis.

"We should strive to be warriors for those that are less fortunate than us," Wiley said.

"I would like to tank all the supporters for tonights event and the Clarion Inn for their wonderful customer service," Public Relations and Marketing director for the Arc Sharon Morris said. "Special thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie Daigle for being our Kick-Off Gala sponsors and to theWeekly Citizen for being a Media sponsor."

There will be eleven star dancers at the Dancing for a Cause event on July 13.

The lineup includes: Dr. Samantha Gulina of Manolia Pediatrics in Prairieville; Andrea (Andi) Carroll, Owner of Reform Fitness and Associate Dean at LSU Law School; Rachel Vallot, Branch Manager of Pelican State Credit Union; Shelly Saurage, Owner of Body Sculpt Barre Studio; Rusty Secrist, Owner of Red Stick Entertainment; Barker Dirmann, President of The Ascension Chamber of Commerce; Ricky Dickmyer, Plant Manager at Hexion, Geismar; Joel Robert, Owner of My Self Story and Part Owner of The Cabin, Coffee house, and Cajun Village; Elizabeth Vowel, News anchor for WAFB Channel 9; Megan Babin, Assistant Administrator of Francois Bend; and Hope Guedry, Owner of BCCP-Boot Camp Code Pink.

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