By JB Clark
TUPELO – Boys & Girls Clubs of America President and CEO Jim Clark served as a celebrity judge in Saturday night’s Dance Like the Stars fundraising event and even kicked off the night with a dance of his own.
“So You Think You Can Dance” top 15 contestant and Boys & Girls Club alumni Novien Yarber also served as a celebrity judge and performed for spectators.
The event serves as the largest fundraising event and biggest single income-generator for the Boys & Girls Club of North Mississippi, bringing a record $246,000 last year. This year’s total reached $200,895.
Amanda Angle of Tupelo was the first celebrity dancer to compete and dressed as Alice in Wonderland, performing a Viennese waltz.
“I have a 10-year-old son who does an after-school program and I feel like there should be an opportunity for all kids to continue their education after school,” Angle said. “I’m definitely not going to win the dance, but I’m excited about the amount of money we’re going to raise for the club.”
The Rev. Jason Harms of Ripley said he participated in the competition because he’s seen the impact the Boys & Girls Club has on his community.
“I know they’re doing some good stuff in Ripley and I hadn’t had a chance to get involved with it yet so this was a great way to do something for the club,” Harms said. “It’s important for kids to have a place after school that’s meaningful – where they’re getting attention and love and things that help them. That helps them, their families and our communities.”
Harms said he was nervous to perform in front of his family, friends and church members in attendance.
Zell Long, the club’s chief operating officer, said she was thrilled with the turnout at Saturday’s event.
“It’s been a wonderful crowd and they’ve had a good time,” she said. “They’re laughing and getting out on the dance floor and they’ve supported our celebrity dancers.”
1. Jason Harms
2. Janea Britton
3. Torrie Robertson
Fundraising grand champion award
1. Amanda Angle $32,687
2. Felicia Pollard $21,778
3. Janea Britton $18,851