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Dancing with The Norwood Stars 2012: Stories of Support and Connection

Even during difficult economic times, the Norwood community rallied and pulled together to support and raise money for the 2012 Dancing with the Norwood Stars.

We have all secretly dreamed of that one moment, a chance to shine in the spotlight, exceeding all personal expectations while maybe even conquering a fear or two.

What would you do if the opportunity presented itself? Would you run away? I probably would. In the dream we have the courage to take center stage or stand before a crowd, but this is real and you have moments to say yes or no.

The catch is that your two minutes of fame will require countless hours learning something new, or if not entirely new, something many of us reserve for a group setting sans audience. I can write a letter or paint a picture, but if asked to dance… I would not be able to. Rhythm is not in my blood, and while my son dances a smooth confidence and moves that rival Michael Jackson, he will only do so in the privacy of our kitchen.

What if you were asked to dance before a room of 500 people - and on live television? If you were assured you would have the best instruction by talented dancers from the Fred Astaire Dance Studio and by the night of the event, your life will be changed? Would you say yes?

What if the reason you were asked is because a group of people came together and believe in you. They believe you can make a difference by helping raise money for the Norwood Circle of Hope’s largest fundraiser, the 2012 Dancing with the Norwood Stars. Would you still be on the fence? Probably not.

This year, Jeanne Bable, Donna Breen, Patty Griffin-Starr, Paul Bishop, Rick “Miggy” McGowan and Jack Tolman took on the challenge. For two months, this group has individually and collectively worked their toes to the bone on the dance floor, supported one another in countless fundraising efforts and encouraged a new circle of friends when they needed a boost.

Dancing with the Norwood Stars is a competition. Someone will walk away this evening as the night’s winner, the person who raised the most money, and someone will walk away with the judge’s award, the person who wowed the crowd and a team of judges with their slick, smooth, and precise dance moves.

I had the absolute pleasure of following the dancers practically from day one. I watched their first group dance lesson - focused, nervous and listening intently to their instructors. I chose to pass on the final group lesson as I want to be just as surprised by the dedication and effort each put forth during the ten plus dance lessons at tonight’s show.

It was not hard to see this group chose to work together from day one. Formulating ideas and supporting each other’s fundraising efforts brought everyone a little closer to the group who, maybe without even realizing so, embraced the spirit of the Circle of Hope and the legacy of a “brown-eyed girl.”

As the show draws near, with just a few hours until the dancers take to the ballroom of the Sheraton Four Points, each are nervous and eager to put on their dancing shoes and dance to the beat of the music. Initial nerves are replaced with eager anticipation and unspeakable gratitude to the Norwood community for supporting them.

I spoke to each of the dancers this week and while some own larger businesses and have affiliations with larger companies in a different fashion, each said the people of this town made their fundraising efforts a success. Even during difficult financial times it was the small businesses right here in Norwood and the community that helped them attain their goals and continue to push on throughout the last two months.

Norwood never ceases to amaze me. Money does not grow on trees but somehow we manage to find a way to help our neighbors. Personally, I could not be more proud to be part of this town and I can not wait to see the dancers, now my friends, take to the floor tonight.

On behalf of all of the people helped by The Circle of Hope and on behalf of the board and on behalf of Michelle, I thank each one of you.

If you were unable to purchase tickets, grab a group of friends and family and head over to The O.C.C., Lewis’ or The Colonial House on Savin Ave for a bite to eat and to watch the show live and to vote for your favorite dancer. Let us continue our show of support and carry on the phrase I have heard so much recently, “Norwood Helping Norwood.”

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