City Social Magazine

MAR-APR 2018

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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Page 34 of 59

The Arts: Dancing for Big Buddy Dancing for Big Buddy—April 28, 2018! One of the most anticipated events of the year, Dancing for Big Buddy is arguably the most entertaining community fundraising event in Baton Rouge. Pairing community leaders and local celebrities with professional dancers to show off their dancing skills, the event packs the LSU PMAC every year to raise funds for Big Buddy. Who will be dancing? Star Dancers: Antoinette Patterson, Brandon Saho, Dawn Starns, Gina Laird, James Peltier, Johnnie Hunt-Bond, Kristy McKearn, Mathew Laborde, Melissa Terito, Michael Uffman, Stephen David, Stever Sherman, and Rubin and Manisha Patel Professional Dancers: Hannah Willson-Hinson, Jerisse Grantham, Donte Phillips, Britt Henderson, Reginald Jackson, Van Vo, River Peterson, Avery Jackson, Luisa Cantillo, Arianna Virgillio and Joanna Chustz Who else is involved? Dancing for Big Buddy Co-Chairs: Kris Cangelosi and Monique Scott-Spalding Executive Director: Gaylynne Mack Big Buddy board-members: Ryan Tucker, Alan Maltbie, Chad Oliver, Garcia Bodley, Kirk Mullins, Kris Cangelosi, Lisa Moore, Michael DeBarros, Nikki Caldwell, Robert Stuart, Sissy Stephens, Mark Hughes, Michell Pierce, Blanche Lewis, Granville Anderson, Blake Fowler and Keava Soil Photographer: David Humphrey Modeled after the hit ABC show, Big Buddy's premier annual fundraising event helps fund mentoring programs in Baton Rouge. The Big Buddy Program is a local 501©(3) nonprofit organization; all donations are tax-deductible. The event, to be held on April 28th, showcases community leaders and prominent citizens of the Baton Rouge Area as they transform into star dancers and present live ballroom performances with their professional dance partners at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on LSU's campus. The Big Buddy Program recruits from among the poorest and most distressed neighborhoods in Baton Rouge. Big Buddy believes that every child is worth reaching and that every child is capable of growing into a responsible adult. In Baton Rouge, employers continue to struggle to fill positions in skilled trades, with companies losing untold levels of productivity as they are unable to find trained workers. The Big Buddy Program seeks to meet these dual challenges by helping at-risk students succeed while also preparing them to fill high-skill and high-paying jobs that will enable them to support a family and become a productive member of society. The program has a strong background in providing innovative, out-of-school programming for underserved youth in Baton Rouge. The scope of the program, which began in 1979, aims to facilitate matches between mentors and elementary-aged youth; it has expanded in the 30+ years since it began and now includes additional programs which address the vast needs facing under-supported youth as they seek to achieve academic success and become contributing members of the community. Throughout the history of the program, Big Buddy has succeeded in providing the best afterschool academic and enrichment programs from students from grade school to graduation; the program features a range of instruments and activities designed to facilitate this success, i.e. implemented courses designed to build character and life skills are taught as part of the ancillary program during the school day. It has also created a workforce development program that gives high school youth access to workplace mentors and internship experiences and developed a format for building the capacity of frontline staff and volunteers. Big Buddy serves over 500 youth each day through one-on-one mentoring matches, afterschool and summer enrichment programs, and career development opportunities for high school youth. Under the Louisiana Department of Education's scale, the program has received an "Exemplary" rating based on the testing outcomes, attendance and behavior measures of the attending students when compared to non-attenders in the statewide evaluation. Big Buddy continues to maintain its focus on the core element of success for disadvantaged youth— access to positive, caring adult mentors. Sponsorships and How They Fund Dancing for Big Buddy •Seat ($250)—provides afterschool programs for 2 elementary or middle school youth for a full year, allowing them homework assistance, tutoring from a professional educator and participation in an art enrichment or STEM activity each day during the afterschool hours. Afterschool programs help keep youth safe, support working families and inspire learning. Youth without access are more likely to participate in behaviors which lead to economic threats for our community. •Table Sponsorship ($3,000)—sponsors an academic and enrichment summer experience for 10 underserved elementary school youth. Participation in high quality summer enrichment programs reduces the incidence of juvenile crimes and promotes summer learning gain, especially for populations who have limited access to positive role models and learning experiences which support their classroom knowledge. "Summer slide" is a real condition which impacts large percentiles of disadvantaged youth when they are not engaged in summer enrichment programs. Low income youth subsequently lose more than 2 months worth of reading. •Event sponsorship ($5,000)—sponsors 5 high school youth in an 8-week summer internship where they develop workforce and leadership skills, in turn promoting success in life. Creating a community of productive youth requires the assistance of those who are successful in life. Youth want to work, but are not always presented with the opportunities which help them to develop their individual skills and explore the use of their gifts. Level-Up! matches workplace mentors with youth who want to experience success. Sponsors are recognized at the Level-Up! mentor trainings and internship celebration, held at the end of the summer program. •Signature sponsorship ($10,000)— ensures the development of 50 matches between a caring adult role model and a youth in need of the encouragement of a special friend; coordinated weekend activities for 1 full year and transportation to and from special program activities. Serving as a mentor to 1 youth is the single-most effective strategy to make a difference in the life of a child, especially one with limited resources. Logo of sponsoring organization include in all correspondence distributed for the year of programming with the 100 Big Buddies and Little Buddies. General admission tickets: There is general seating in the balcony for $10 per seat. Buy a sponsorship or general admission tickets today! By Kris Cangelosi Photo by Don Green & The Futures Fund Project 35

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