On April 1st, Project Safe, a local non-profit organization working to end domestic violence, hosted their 5th Annual Dancing with the Athens Stars competition at the Classic Center. The event raised $104,000, which was a $14,000 increase from last year’s donations. This year’s increase can be credited to the devotion and dedication of friends, family, and Athens residents. 100% of the money raised was donated to Project Safe and their cause.
Our very own Jason Long and partner Sandy Boyles danced their way to 2nd place for the Audience Favorite trophy. Their electrifying swing dance to Christina Aguilera’s Something’s Got a Hold on Me wowed the judges and the audience alike. The couple’s practice over the past few months was evident in the level of difficulty and precision present throughout the routine. Overall, their enthusiasm, chemistry, and showmanship made them instant crowd favorites.
Boyles describes her first DWTAS as “such a great experience. I loved meeting everyone, especially my wonderful dance partner, Jason. Not sure what I’m going to do with my Sunday afternoons anymore!” Long also enjoyed their partnership, and his enthusiasm for the cause was apparent when he explained, “Project Safe is such an important piece of Athens, and I am so glad to be a part of the program this year.”
Both Jason and Sandy love to stay involved in the Athens community. Jason is currently a board member for the Georgia Conflict Center and plans to continue his six year involvement working with kids in the Adopt-A-Class program. Long donates his time around Athens doing lectures on school, work, and life. He also branches out to the University of Georgia on occasion, where he speaks on some of the more technical aspects of running a web design business.
Sandy’s commitment is also apparent, as she holds a number of positions in the Athens area, including Chair of the Salvation Army Board, Committee for the Oconee Relay for Life, Head of Team Recruitment for Relay for Life, Team Captain of Relay for Life Team (“Hot Mamas”), Financial Advisor for Delta Delta Delta sorority, Chair of Capital Campaign for Delta Delta Delta sorority, and Chair of Special Gifts Committee at Athens Regional Medical Center’s foundation.
Joan Prittie, Executive Director of Project Safe, did a tremendous job on the execution of this year’s event. Sandy described the event through the reactions of her close friends in the audience: “They were amazed and said they wouldn’t miss another… Instead of being a one-time donor for me, many will continue to support Project Safe because of its mission.”
Overall, the success of this year’s DWTAS is testament to the giving community of Athens. The event is Project Safe’s main fundraiser. The professional dancers did a wonderful job training their partners and should be commended on the time and commitment they gave to each practice. Bob Smith, contestant, explains his reaction, “Awesome! Everyone was awesome! Dancers, Project Safe staff, stage workers!” With the success of this year’s Project Safe DWTAS show, audience members an d performers cannot wait to see what surprises next year’s performance will have in store.
For more information on how to donate to Project Safe, please visit their websitehere.