Dancing with the Ellis County Stars to raise money, awareness for foster care organization

Chris Roark
Waxahachie Daily Light
County Commissioner Lane Grayson and his wife Julie are one of six teams competing in the Dancing With the Ellis County Stars event Feb. 5.

Laure Henthorn hopes the upcoming “Dancing With the Ellis County Stars” event brings much-needed awareness to The Texas Baptist Home for Children.

At the very least it’s expected to provide a lot of entertainment.

TBHC is a foster care and adoption center with multiple locations across the state, including Waxahachie. But Henthorn said many people don’t know about the organization.

“We’ve been around since 1910, and a lot of the community is unaware of what we do,” said Henthorn, donation engagement manager for TBHC. “So we were looking for something to not only be a fundraiser but also to help us increase awareness.”

And with dancing competition shows popular on TV right now, this seemed like the perfect way to reach the community.

“Dancing With the Ellis County Stars” will take place at 6 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Waxahachie Civic Center.

“A gala will attract supporters,” Henthorn said. “But we want to reach a crowd that doesn’t know about us.”

Six teams of two will each perform a two-minute dance with the professional dance instructor.

The teams are made up of key dignitaries in the Ellis County area.

The teams are: Doug Barnes, Waxahachie mayor, and Julie Farrar, Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce vice president; County Commissioner Lane Grayson and his wife Julie Grayson, owner of Danceworks; Josh Oliver, Waxahachie police officer, and Jennifer Oliver, WISD speech pathologist; Darrin Robinson, founder of V.O.I.D., and his wife Tianna Robinson; Richard Smith, pastor of Farley Street Baptist Church, and his daughter Kara Hatchel; and Jon McLaughlin, YMCA district executive, and his wife Rachel McLaughlin.

The dance teams have been rehearsing since August, and voting has already open. Those votes will be added to the votes the dancers will receive Feb. 5. The winning team will receive a mirror ball trophy.

The participants said the event allows them to do something fun while helping children at the same time. Barnes, for example, said dancing has always been a hobby.

“My wife and I would go dancing as often as we could,” Barnes said. “For us dancing was a form of relaxation.”

Candice Gouse, a dance instructor at Danceworks Dance Studio, has been Barnes and Farrar’s instructor.

“We've worked diligently to get our routine together. While we have made mistakes in the routine, this is for a great cause,” Barnes said. “The theme of this event is ‘bring the children home.’ So we’re doing this to help kids have a good quality of life through the support of the Texas Baptist Home for Children.”

The event, which will be emceed by viral video star “Chewbacca Mom” and author Candace Payne, will begin with a dinner. There will also be performances by a troop from Danceworks Studio as well as from residents at Daymark Living.

Henthorn said the money raised will go toward TBHC’s foster care adoption and teen pregnancy care programs.

Tickets are nearly sold out, but organizers encourage everyone to go to tbhc.org to watch the event live and to vote on their favorite dancing teams.