Dancing with the Real Stars

The Leadership PineBelt Class of 2017 and Project CiviCAN is hosting an exciting community event for a great cause, Dancing with the Real Stars. The event will be held on Thursday, Aug. 24, at the Venue at the Bakery Building, 127 Buschman Street in Downtown Hattiesburg.

 This small group project through ADP’s Leadership PineBelt is one that will benefit not only those in the Greater Hattiesburg area through a fun-filled evening, but will primarily impact individuals with disabilities who attend Abbie Rogers Civitan Camp.

Attendees of Dancing with the REAL Stars will enjoy dances from Hattiesburg personalities including Katie Dixon of Master Chef Season 7, Joe Paul of The University of Southern Miss., and Brett and Deanna Favre, to name a few. These personalities will be paired with the REAL stars of the evening, individuals with special needs, with the proceeds benefiting the Abbie Rogers Civitan Camp. 

The Abbie Rogers Civitan Camp is a nonprofit, all-volunteer camp in South Mississippi, dedicated to promoting and encouraging camping activities for children and adults with disabilities (who reside in South Mississippi).

Founded in 1961 by Abbie Rogers, the Camp continues Roger’s life work. This year the camp has an exciting new dream to include authentic outdoor camping activities to the experience.  The success of this dream requires eight Tent Platforms to be built in the serene “Primitive Area” of the camp. This will cost the camp an estimated $12,000 to fund. The goal of project CiviCAN is to raise these funds through the Dancing with the REAL Stars event!

This event promises to be a first-class event with a projected 200+ in attendance and an excellent opportunity for local businesses to associate themselves with a worthwhile cause. Tickets are $25 and will include food from several of Hattiesburg’s favorite eateries (Mercury Pizza Co., Crescent City Grill, Keg & Barrel, Glory Bound Gyro Co., Half Shell Oyster House and The Depot Coffeehouse and Bistro) with alcohol tickets available for purchase at the door ($2 a ticket). There will be a silent auction, as well, with a variety of items to choose from.

In an effort to provide the families of the youth campers with an evening out, The PineBelt group is offering free childcare for Civitan Camp families at the ARC House during the event along with free admittance.

“It can be difficult for parents of children with special needs to find childcare since their child typically requires additional special care, so we wanted to make sure that we offer these parents some respite,” said class member Sarah Myers.

“My love for camp developed in high school when I first began volunteering for youth week. It was such a positive experience for the campers and the volunteers and it truly helped lead me to my life’s work, speech-language pathologist and assistant director at The Children’s Center for Communication and Development at The University of Southern MS. I work with young children, ages birth to five with disabilities and communication disorders, and I know the value of positive inclusion experiences for individuals with disabilities. Pairing the campers with Hattiesburg locals will only create an environment of acceptance and tolerance for differences, which is something I think Hattiesburg embraces often!”

Tickets for the event can be purchased online or at the door, based on availability, lpb2017civican.eventbrite.com

To find out more about giving opportunities, feel free to contact me, the CiviCAN group leader, at sarah.r.myers@usm.edu

Members of the CiviCAN Group include:

• Dab McMurray, Magnolia State Bank

• Sarah Myers, The Children’s Center for Communication and Development at USM

• Chad Mitchell, Mac’s Construction

• Cory Ferraez, McHard, McHard, Anderson & Associates, PLLC

• Kristen Lang, Merit Health Wellness Center

• Evan Nicolosi, The Trustmark National Bank

• Philip Mulligan, The Divine Shine Detail Experience