Meet the contestants of the 2017 Atlantic Area CASA Dancing with the Stars of the Coastal Empire — Joey Prince, Maria Sowell, Margit Williams, Nina Dean, Mark Mosely and Mitch Boston.
The kickoff for the 4th annual fundraiser and dancing competition on Nov. 18 at La Quinta Inn and Suites, introduced the contestants to the community and shared what Atlantic Area Court Appointed Special Advocate is about.
Atlantic Area CASA advocates for children in the court system. The organization recruits and trains community members who are interested in being a voice for children who need advocates, looking after their best interests. The contestants raise money to help with recruitment and training of volunteers while practicing with a professional dancer for their dance debut on March 4, at 7 p.m. at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center.
Contestants are vying for the title of best male dancer, best female dancer and overall winner — the person who raises the most money.
Petula Gomillion, executive director for Atlantic Area CASA, said she hopes the fundraiser gets people interested in becoming advocates. Atlantic Area CASA serves eight counties: Liberty, Long, Bryan, McIntosh, Tattnall, Evans, Ware and Pierce counties. Gomillion said more advocates are needed for Liberty and Long counties.
Nina Dean, receptionist at Muse Collision, likes dancing and was asked to participate to bring awareness to the cause.
"I definitely want to make sure that everyone has a voice," Dean said. "They’re not always able to articulate what they need."
Joey Prince, membership coordinator of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, is competing because he wants to give back.
"I have enjoyed growing up in this community and being a part of it, showing other people that giving back is the way it should be to grow as a community, and to do that you actually have to be out there and active," Prince said.
Dancing is nothing new to Margit Williams. On top of being an administrative assistant at Fraser Counseling Center, she is a zumba instructor.
"We have been a part of this community for about 16 or 17 years with the military and just bringing awareness to this cause, especially with children, is important to me," Williams said.
The fundraiser’s cause is what touched Maria Sowell, the director of physician relations at Liberty Regional Medical Center and mother of twin boys.
"I really think about the cause, the children we are actually striving to help. I’m really excited about that because when you have children of your own it touches home and really resonates," Sowell said.
Mark Mosely said he’s going to come out on top. Mosely is a realtor with Realty Executive Liberty.
"I already know I can’t dance, so my main strategy is to watch as much Youtube as possible," Mosely said. "Anybody here could win the event but you already know it’s going to be me."
Mosely said he wants to help and give back to his community.
He called himself "the people’s champ."
Tickets for the March 4 event may be purchased from competitors, or by calling 876-3816. More information on CASA can be found at www.atlanticcasa.org, www.gacasa.org or www.casaforchildren.org.