Thanks to our generous dancers, donors, sponsors, supporters and friends, this year’s event exceeded our fundraising goal, raising more than $230,000 to fight homelessness and poverty
Lighthouse’s 11th annual Dancing with the Detroit Stars was marked by laughter, tears and a whole lot of cheers. Five local celebrity dancers pulled out all the stops to help raise more than $230,000 for individuals, working families and children in need across Oakland County.
It was a packed house Saturday night at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, where guests enjoyed Asian fusion cuisine and strolled through a silent auction before the big show. Detroit TV personalities Jason Carr of WDIV-TV (Channel 4) and Taryn Asher of WJBK-TV (Fox 2) got the party started, revving up the room with their light-hearted banter and wry humor.
Heart-rending videos played on screens around the room, serving as stark reminders of what the evening’s glitz, glamour and good-natured competition was all about. They featured Lighthouse leaders, volunteers and clients sharing personal stories and talking about the growing need for food, housing and other support services in Oakland County, where more than 4,000 men, women and children have no place to call home.
Among those urging guests to give from the heart was Dr. Harry Maisel of West Bloomfield, who pledged a $25,000 matching gift in honor of his late wife and son. The audience responded by giving Dr. Maisel a standing ovation, and making $60,000 in additional appeal donations on the spot.
“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Dr. Maisel and the many others who continue to support our mission to end homelessness and poverty in Oakland County,” said Ryan Hertz, Lighthouse CEO. “Everyone who has participated in Dancing with the Detroit Stars is a winner, but the true winners are our neighbors who so desperately need the food, shelter and other services your donations provide.”
Speaking of winners, the celebrity dancers and their professional partners from Arthur Murray Dance Studio didn’t disappoint, bringing their A-game to the dance floor – and, in some cases, their own cheering squads to root them on.
When Jennifer Granger, philanthropist and the night’s first dancer, took to the floor, a whole table of supporters waved hand-held signs with Granger’s face front and center.
As Dr. Rami Essak performed his routine, his fans could be heard across the room, excitedly exclaiming: “He’s my dentist!” Gasps were heard as defending champ Rabbi Rachel Shere was hoisted into the air by one of her two professional dance partners. And the audience and judges were captivated by Marina Lagocha’s stunning costume and alluring performance on stage with Clive Phillips, an internationally known dance instructor.
But, it was Brooke Miller’s flawless performance that left many folks speechless. It was Miller’s first time dancing in the event and her spot-on routine – that even included her two young daughters — left many checking the program to see whether Miller’s bio included professional dancer. (It does not.) Miller is the founder and CEO of Honey Space for Women in Ferndale which recently partnered with Lighthouse to provide services to moms in need.
“Participating in this event was an incredible experience for me, as well as for my family,” said Miller. “My children are ready to volunteer at Lighthouse as soon as possible, as their understanding of homelessness and our ability to bring our resources of time, love, and dance has empowered them, at just 7 and 5 years old. They were very excited to tell their friends and teachers on Monday morning about their big dancing debut and trophy!”
Lighthouse would like to thank our event chairs James and Elizabeth Ciroli, all of our dedicated supporters, sponsors, dancers and judges, and Gail & Rice, which produced this year’s spectacular event.
If you were unable to attend, but would like to make a world of difference for someone in need, please visit: https://my.lighthousemi.org/dancing/Donate