A week from this Thursday, Rhodes on the Pawtuxet will be swinging.
All the attention will be focused on the dance floor where a group of adventuresome individuals have the gumption to be paired with professional dancers from Warwick’s Dancin’ Feelin’ to raise funds for the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership.
We say “gumption” because good dancing isn’t easy and dancing in front of a crowd is even more difficult. It’s also a lot of work. On average, the folks at Dancin’ Feelin’, and those volunteering to be in the limelight, have spent weeks rehearsing routines that will take less than five minutes to perform. And to get the audience in the mood for the evening’s entertainment, Channel 10’s Mario Hilario and Lite Rock 105’s Heather Gerstein, both celebrity dancers in the past, have roles in this year’s Dancing With the Stars of Mentoring. Hilario will be dancing in the opening number.
As you know, or can guess, Dancing with the Stars is a fundraiser. The event generates upwards of $70,000 that enables the partnership to carry on its program of matching mentors with students an hour every week during the academic year. Students are selected by teachers and principals or at the request of a guardian or parent for the program. The relationships that develop are often lasting and have been shown to have a profound impact on a student’s performance in school. Attendance goes up and students have someone they can lean on for advice, or just listen to their side of things. Statewide, more than 4,000 students have been paired with mentors.
Dancing is a good metaphor for what happens between mentor and mentee. Not all pairings work out. That’s life. But for those that it does, both benefit.
As for next Thursday’s show, this is also a display of the power of mentoring. We applaud those who have chosen to step onto the dance floor to raise funds and awareness of the cause – their efforts will reap untold benefits.
The curtain call truly belongs to the mentors who, week in and week out, visit their mentees.
To learn about becoming a mentor, about tickets to Dancing with the Stars and how to help, visit www.mentorRI.org.