Fifty years after the original British Invasion, America, or at least Northwest Indiana, was once again beset with Union Jack flags and images of Big Ben for the Duneland Family YMCA’s 8th Annual Dancing Like the Stars fundraising event, held tonight at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City.
The hugely popular event regularly sells out each year, with money raised going towards providing scholarships to allow those with low-incomes to benefit from programs at the YMCA, regardless of ability to pay.
Mark Chamberlain, CEO of Lakeside Wealth Management, danced last year and was happy to return this year to show support not just for the Y, but for his daughter, who danced in this year’s event.
“It’s great to look around here tonight and see all the energy and enthusiasm coming from all these people who came out here tonight to support the Y,” Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain admitted that it was his daughter who convinced him to dance last year, a favor he was only too happy to return.
“Hopefully she’ll do great, but the important thing is to raise money and support for the YMCA and all the great work they do for the community.”
Chamberlain’s daughter, Elizabeth Adcock, currently serves as Director of Strategic Development at Lakeside Wealth Management, and also serves as a board member for the Duneland Family YMCA.
“As a board member, I just want to say that this is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Adcock. “We are able to fund all of our scholarships for the year, helping kids all the way to their senior year with scholarships.”
“From a community standpoint, there are 580 people here tonight, sharing that with other people from the community and showing their support for what the Y is doing,” said Adcock.
“When most folks hear the term ‘scholarship,’ they immediately think ‘college,’ but that’s not what this is about,” said Rich Gardner, Board President of the Duneland YMCA, otherwise known as the “Chief Volunteer Officer.”
The funds raised grant scholarships to those who wish to participate at the YMCA, allowing the organization to take people in regardless of payment, ultimately offsetting the costs of YMCA services to individuals who otherwise could not afford to attend.
Gardner said that the event started out small, but has grown steadily throughout the years since it first began.
“Last year, this event raised roughly $80,000 and we’re hoping to match or beat that here tonight,” said Gardner. “There’s a need for these services, and this event allows us to continue to meet that need.”
The event featured not just dancing, but also a live and silent auction, where attendees placed bids on items ranging from sports memorabilia to spa packages to weekend getaways and more. There was also a cash bar and a delicious, catered dinner.
Jamie Baczkowski, Account Manager for Trinity Displays of Chesterton, was on hand, dressed as one of the Spice Girls to show support for Tiffany Bozovich, who was scheduled to dance with her daughter.
“I love the YMCA!” said Baczkowski. “I’ve lived next to the YMCA for 30 years, and my son goes to their day care. The Y is very close to my heart.”
Dave Kasarda, CEO of Duneland Family YMCA, sees the event as a sign of a strong community.
“This is such an important event for us at the YMCA. Not only does it allow us to continue to offer those scholarships, but perhaps even more importantly, it builds community with over 600 people here tonight, coming out not just to support the Y, but to support the Duneland communities that the Y serves, and that’s really something special.”
For more information about Duneland Family YMCA, visit them online at https://www.dunelandymca.org/.