Lassen Family Services, Inc. returns with the 4th annual Dancing for a Brand New Me community awareness event at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Susanville Veterans Memorial Hall.
Friday night’s Red Carpet performance will set the stage for Saturday night’s community performance. Patterned after the popular ABC Television series “Dancing with the Stars,” this program features local dancers paired with local professional dance instructors in competition for the Peoples Choice, Judges Choice and Spirit Award trophies presented to the dance couple whose performance shows the community the importance of ending domestic violence starting at home.
This year’s dancers from the community include: Melyssah Rios, local attorney working for Lassen County in the area of child welfare law. Rios is a wife and mother of two small children, and in her career she has dealt with hundreds of cases involving domestic violence and worked with programs in the community to achieve justice for the victims of those cases. Rios believes early awareness and prevention is key to stopping the cycle of domestic violence and its devastating effects. Rios will be partnered with professional dancer Seanne McElrath.
Ellie Brown, legal secretary at the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office, takes pride as a wife and mother. Brown is honored to participate in this event because she believes victims of domestic violence need to know they are never alone and there is help and support available. Brown will be partnered with professional dancer Alex McElrath
Jayson Vial, Lassen County Family Solutions Facilitator, helps families find solutions by working together peacefully. In college, Vial and his fraternity championed the “These Hands Don’t Hurt” movement getting the men on campus to pledge that their hands will not be involved in hurting another individual.
Vial said when he was asked to be part of this event he “leaped out of his shoes” for the opportunity to bring awareness to this community. Vial will be dancing with professional dancer Doria Dalu.
Kristen Wilburn, working for California Highway Patrol for the past 21 years, feels pride and honor to be part of the event. Wilburn believes those who have and still do suffer at the hands and words of a loved one need to know they have support within our community with people who care and who will help. Wilburn will be partnered with professional dancer Clinton Verge.
Thomas Herrera, involved community member and Jack of all trades, believes strongly the Dancing for a Brand New Me awareness event is an integral part of bringing the epidemic of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse to light. Herrera believes the world needs more people to speak up and speak out and not let fear stop someone from taking action and making a difference. Thomas will be dancing with professional dancer Celeste Wiser.
Lassen Family Services, Inc. Executive Director Peter Celum anticipates a very entertaining evening and inspiring testimonials from survivors who will share their stories of overcoming domestic violence and abuse.
Celum strongly believes the awareness created by the event also will empower the community to end domestic violence and stop all forms of abuse. Celum thanks all professional dance companies, the dancers, judges and business owners for donating items for raffle prizes; and all community members and volunteers who contribute to the success of the event.
For more than 37 years, Lassen Family Services has met the needs of families torn apart by domestic violence in Lassen County. All programs and services are free. Survivors are immediately provided basic needs (shelter, food, clothing and transportation) and advocacy (restraining order assistance, court and hospital accompaniment, financial assistance, employment, education, child care and housing), and help acquiring medical, dental and mental health care.
Beyond immediate crisis care, Lassen Family Services also strives to help victims on their journeys to healing and empowerment. Long-term peer counseling and prevention education is provided by certified domestic violence and sexual assault peer counselors.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. In a life-threatening emergency, call 911. In a non-emergency situation, help can be found at Lassen Family Services by calling the 24-hour Crisis Line at 257-5004 or toll free at (888) 289-5004.
More information is available at lassenfamilyservices.org or at the business offices, 1306 Riverside Drive, Susanville or by calling 257-4599.