MEDFORD, Ore. -- Dancing with the Rogue Valley Stars (DWTRVS) is the Southern Oregon Sparrow Clubs' biggest and most significant fundraiser. Eight local "stars" are paired up with an experienced dancer in the community and they learn a choreographed ballroom dance routine.
This year, DWTRVS is adding a hip-hop squad competition to the fundraiser. 16 additional local stars are split up evenly into two teams. Each team has a coach and will learn a hip-hop dance routine. Each dancer is tasked with raising money for the organization.
SO EXCITED to be apart of this years Dancing With The Rogue Valley Stars! If you don’t know what that is it’s a fundraising event for Sparrow Clubs! If you would like to know more about DWTRVS and/or Sparrow Clubs please feel free to message me and ask!!— Chloe Hedgepeth (@Smiley_4231) August 30, 2019
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Southern Oregon Sparrow Clubs hopes to raise more than $100,000 this year.
"The proceeds of this show stay right here in our community and help Sparrow Clubs continue to do what we do — and that's inspire kids in school to help local children in medical need," said the National Program Director Matt Sampson. "The cast this year is so excited to make a difference for Sparrow Clubs and that really touches my heart. There's a genuine sincere enthusiasm to do something that is going to help so many kids and so many students in our communities."
The organization helps children in medical need by having local schools "adopt" them. The students through service and fundraising activities then raise money for their Sparrow and give them moral support.
"It's so heartwarming to see the smiles on their faces and see everybody coming together," said Chloe Hedgepeth. She's a former Sparrow. This year, she's a dancer in the ballroom competition and the very first Sparrow to dance in this show.
"[Sparrow Clubs] has been just a huge part of my life. I am old enough now to finally be able to give back and that's something I've been wanting to do for a long time," Hedgepeth said. "A lot of people don't think that being there for just one person makes that big of a difference but it actually makes a big difference, especially for a little child."
NewsWatch 12's Alicia Rubin is a ballroom dancer this year.
"Every single Sparrow Assembly that I went to at a school I've cried at, because they are just so moving," Rubin said. "To see kids care for other kids like that, and to see families that need help getting that help, it will change your life. To be able to help this organization is just fantastic."
By day, Ashley Blakely is the Public Information Officer for Fire District 3. She's been wanting to be a part of Dancing with the Rogue Valley Stars for a few years now. She's among the 16 in the very first hip-hop squad competition.
"It's really special to be a part of it hands-on, individually — and hopefully being able to spread the word in our community even more about how important [Sparrow Clubs] really is," Blakely said. "At the end of the day, if we're not perfect [dancers] . . . I think this is something that we can look back on and have wonderful memories."
Karen Branaugh's daughter has been a Sparrow twice. She's also one of the 16 in the very first hop-hop squad competition. She knows how much this organization has helped her family. Now, she's ready to give back to other families.
"Everyone who is a dancer is just full of love and generosity," Branaugh said. "They really want to help these kids."
Tickets for the 11th annual Dancing with the Rogue Valley Stars go on sale Tuesday, October 1st. The show is on Saturday, November 9th. As always, there will be a matinee show at 2pm and an evening show with the full awards ceremony at 7pm.
You can meet all of the other ballrooms dancers and donate to their teams here.
Click here to meet the hip-hop squad dancers and donate.