Six local “stars” stepped up to support Emmaus at the Haverhill-based agency’s second annual “Stepping Out with the Valley Stars" spring gala on April 2.
Modeled after the television show “Dancing with the Stars,” the sold-out event held at Renaissance in Haverhill featured a spirited dance competition among local “celebrities,” professional dance performances, silent auction, food and more — all to support the nonprofit, community-housing agency.
More than 230 guests were on hand to watch the half-dozen local celebrities vie for the title of "Dance Champion."
Ron Trombley, managing director of the Greater Haverhill Foundation, and his partner, Angie Egea, danced off with the trophy, but not before facing their competitors: Dianne Connolly, principal of Pentucket Lake School in Haverhill; Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex Community College; Sue LaGree, local attorney and business development professional; state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport; and Haverhill City Councilor Andy Vargas.
The local “celebrity” judges were Tim Jordan of Haverhill, principal at Jordan Financial Services; Gretchen Arntz, director of philanthropy at Emmaus; Peter Carbone, owner of EZ-Way Cleaners in Haverhill; and Erin Kaya, owner of Aurora Ballroom in Salisbury.
Burju Perez of Methuen, a world-renowned salsa dancer and creator of Burju Shoes who danced an exhibition number with her husband, Victor Perez, served as the event’s creative director and one of the Elite Sponsors, along with Merrimack Valley Credit Union.
Emmaus Executive Director Jeanine Murphy said the event exceeded all expectations. Proceeds will support the agency’s mission to "find a way home" for those who come to Emmaus in need of emergency shelter, affordable housing, case management, housing services, job readiness and empowerment programs.
Founded in 1986, Emmaus is the largest provider of emergency shelter in Essex County. Last year, the agency served 2,229 children through its shelters and housing programs. On any given night, 300 adults and children call Emmaus “home.”