Monday, October 14, 2013

‘It’s Good to Give Back’: Military Families to Benefit from Fred Astaire Dance Studios Fundraising

W. Springfield FADS in the News as New England's Studios Team Up to Make a Difference

L. Williams, Pro, C. Bassett, C. Racco & Franchisee Robin Jedlicka (Photo by C. Dangona, The Reminder Publications)
Fred Astaire Dance Studios, West Springfield, is multiplying the benefits of dancing! Already offering every student who walks through its doors a healthier, more exciting lifestyle, the studio is now donating free dance lessons to benefit military families. The benefit work culminates in a glittering Dancing With the Stars-styled fundraising gala November 10 in Hartford, CT, called 'Dancing With Our Heroes.' 

West Springfield is one of 19 New England FADS studios working to build Connecticut’s first Fisher House for a total cost of $6 million. Located near VA and military hospitals nationwide, Fisher Houses are homes-away-from-home for military family members to stay as they support their loved one’s recoveries from service-related illnesses and injuries. The New England Region's goal is $200,000 toward the project.

The venue for the exciting ‘Dancing with Our Heroes’ gala is the gorgeous Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Tickets include cocktails and dinner, a silent auction, a professional show, and a long-awaited “Dancing with Our Heroes” competition! The Region’s website showcases each Hero and lets visitors cast $1 votes for their favorites. See

Fred Astaire Dance Studios nationwide have made military families' needs a primary focus all year long. Our Chicago Region, for example, offers free rehabilitative dance lessons to hospitalized military personnel; San Diego and Oceanside, CA, are planning a USO benefit, and other Regions are fundraising and planning projects to help.

Carley Dangona, reporter for The Reminder, visited Robin and Kim Jedlicka, Franchisees of the West Springfield studio, to meet Heroes Christine Bassett and Cheryl Racco and their Pro teachers, Lee Williams and Robin Jedlicka. 

Bassett, a retired Senior Master Sgt. of the Air National Guard and the Ludlow, Massachusetts, VFW Post Commander, says she learned about ‘Dancing with Our Heroes’ at a VFW picnic and called W. Springfield FADS with ‘no second thoughts!'  Bassett, whose first lesson taught her that ‘dancing is fun and mistakes are okay,’ loves her lessons and vows she’ll continue after the gala. “She’s doing really well,” said Williams, Bassett’s Pro partner for the event. “I’m really, really excited to work with Christine.”  

Cheryl Racco, another Hero-in-training at the W. Springfield studio, will waltz at next month's Hartford event with studio owner Jedlicka in honor of three very special veterans: her father and her two brothers.

Like other studios in the New England region, W. Springfield donates lessons to get their Heroes in top form for the gala’s highly-anticipated Ballroom & Latin Dance competition November 10. Winners will be selected by audience votes and a panel of celebrity judges in a format similar to Dancing with the Stars.  

Dangona’s article reveals how rewarding this endeavor has been for Jedlicka. "I think that it’s really good that we can use the FA franchise to raise money to give back. In addition to helping such a worthy cause, he said, “it builds camaraderie in the community.”

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