Cartersville's stars to dance for charity
by Mark Andrews
Jan 10, 2013 | 4450 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Professional dancer Dewayne Barrett lifts Marlu Smith during a cha cha/hustle dance they are rehearsing for Cartersville Dances With The Stars. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Professional dancer Dewayne Barrett lifts Marlu Smith during a cha cha/hustle dance they are rehearsing for Cartersville Dances With The Stars. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
On March 2, several well-known community members will test their skills with experienced dancers for Cartersville Dances with the Stars, a fundraising event for the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter and BackPack Buddies program geared after the popular TV series.

“We have 12 ‘celebrity dancers’ and they just started last week ... and they can practice with their partner up to three hours a week,” said Jessica Mitcham, executive director for the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter. “And for those who come to the event, just like on the TV show there will be videos showing the couple practicing and some sound bites from them on why they chose to be involved with the event.”

The dance teams are Deanna Berry and Steve Webb; Bryan Canty and Cara Collier; Wanda Cagle Gray and Chuck Nida; Kelley Dial and Ronnie Evans; JJ Jones and Donna Harshaw; Jennifer Matthews and Randy Henderson; Jim Pinkard and Kim Cook; Marlu Smith and Dewayne Barrett; Ted Smith and Bobbi Bruton; Jayce Stepp and Kasey Ashworth; Terry Slocum and MaryKate Ulshafer; and Louis Tonsmeire Jr. and Jill Mroczko.

The event will be held Saturday, March 2, at the Clarence Brown Conference Center. Tickets are available for a pre-event party — $125 for individual seats/tables of eight available for $750; or dance-off only for $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Compass Financial Partners, the presenting sponsor of the event, at 680 Douthit Ferry Road in Cartersville, 770-386-7007,

Check-in for the event will begin at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. The show will start at 7 p.m.

Interested parties can donate now at or during the event as well as vote via text message for $1 per vote. According to a press release, “To participate, text the first name of your star, the amount you want to pledge, and your name to 41444. They will return your call to take payment for your pledge. Follow the stars on Facebook at”

Local celebrity judges will award The Judges Choice award while votes will determine The People’s Choice award.

“Several surrounding communities do a ‘Dancing with the Stars’-style fundraiser for different charities and we were excited to do something like that,” Mitcham said. “We thought it would be a fun, new way to raise money here in Bartow County and our goal here is to raise $60,000 that will be shared by the two organizations.”

Since forming in 1996, the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter has served more than 4,600 people. Built in 2001, the 4,600-square-foot facility assists an average of nearly 400 individuals per year. While they are housed, Good Neighbor’s guests are required to find a job within four weeks, and the shelter’s staff helps them establish savings as well as focus on problem-solving skills and research future housing options.

BackPack Buddies operates by having churches, Parent Teacher Organizations and community groups each week deliver donated food items to a school in their community based on the BackPack Buddies menu. The items should provide for two breakfast meals, two lunch meals, three dinner meals and two snacks, which could include Ramen noodles, fruit snacks and beanie-weenies.

The menu is a suggestion derived from the national campaign and can be tweaked within the nutritional guidelines, costing about $5 to $7 a child for the weekend.

For the county, the individual schools will place the items in donated backpacks and students identified as being in need of additional nutrition can take the backpacks home with them on Friday and return them on Monday.