“By the time Grace* was 14 years old, her father had been raping her for several years. Soon after this trauma began, she started to have delusions. The visions she saw and the things she heard terrorized her. Her bedroom, in which the abuse occurred and where she continued to sleep each night, the most evil of the whispers threatened that her time was coming soon. Grace truly believed she was going to be killed and, when she told the people who were supposed to love her and care for her, they did not believe her and discounted her very real fear.” A family advocate at the Center for Child Protection heard about Grace’s situation and immediately put a plan in place to get Grace out of that toxicity. Now Grace is receiving psychiatric care at the center and, over time, with the dedication and hard work from both Grace and the center, she will be a healthy, young girl again in mind, body and spirit.
In homes across America you hear the screams, cheers and oohs and ahhs of fans glued to their televisions watching “Dancing with the Stars“ hosted by Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke as they introduce and comment on competing stars. Stars including Emmitt Smith, Kirstie Alley, Pamela Andersonand dozens of others that have bravely stepped into quite complicated ballroom dancing routines over the course of the show’s seasons. After reading to this point you are probably bewildered and quite possibly asking yourself what Grace’s story has to do with “Dancing with the Stars,” just read on.
Austin has it’s own Dancing with the Stars, presented by Lexus of Austin, to benefit The Center for Child Protection. Austin celebrity dancers will pair up with professional dancers and will take the stage at Austin’s Hilton Hotel to continue to raise awareness and money for abused children in our local community and to provide additional services including pet therapy, interactive ropes courses and psychiatric therapy.
This year’s Dancing with the Stars will be a night of cocktails, gourmet food, a luxury car raffle, live auction and, of course, the live entertainment as Austin’s own stars take the stage. Generous local sponsors for this event include Mandarin Flower Co, Go Dance, Balance Dance Studios, Austin Uptown Dance, Green Hat Event Technology and White Glove Health, plus more!
Dr. Meria Carstarphen, Austin Independent School District superintendent, will be one of the dancing stars for the event. Dr. Carstarphen says that “although I have not danced before, I am excited to do my part to help support our most vulnerable children and families.” Dr. Carstarphen also believes it is “important to raise children to be healthy and socially and emotionally aware” as it is “critical to help children learn skills that will help them better identify abuse and get help earlier.” Dr. Carstarphen went on to give a word of advice to any child who is being abused, “Believe in yourself. Ask for help because you are not alone. Speak up and talk to an adult . . . The sooner you get help, the sooner the abuse can stop.” Dr. Carstarphen is passionate about helping children to grow up safely and happily while also receiving an outstanding education.
Other notable Austin leaders participating in dancing at the event include Carol Adams, president of Animal Trustees of Austin, Clayton Aynesworth, founder of Alternative Healing of Austin and Graydon Parrish, artist, art historian and color theorist. Carol Adams says she was honored to be asked to be a part of this event because “the Center for Child Protection does incredible work on behalf of children who are victims of sexual and physical abuse and neglect.” Carol is not only passionate about the youth of our community, but also is a strong advocate for the animals in our community. Carol says, “always spay and neuter your pets and advocate for others to do the same. Animal Trustees of Austin has many outreach programs to help those with lower income to keep their pets healthy and safe, including low cost veterinary services, free microchips and free services to pets of our homeless population.” Carol is both honored and thrilled to be a part of such an exciting event to rally for the children in our community.
This year’s dance-off promises to be full of energy, laughter and, of course, fun as some of Austin’s own community leaders courageously step out into the spotlight and dance to raise money to save and rehabilitate many of our precious, yet vulnerable, children.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
6:30 p.m. Reception
7 p.m. Dinner
Austin Grand Ballroom – Sixth Floor
500 East Fourth Street
Austin, Texas 78701