ElderHouse’s 5th Annual DANCING WITH THE STARS Event a Resounding Success, Exceeding All Expectations for Energy, Entertainment, and Fundraising Goals!

Written by Judie Szuets, HamletHub

While preparations for the ElderHouse Dancing with the Stars – 5th Annual Gala Benefit went on for nearly the past year, the gala event evening flew by far too quickly in a blur of excitement, fun, high energy, and great talent, and raised funds that exceeded that of previous years, surpassing goals set for this year’s event. The DWTS event showcased talent born from months of dedicated practice by seven high profile local business leaders who, along with their professional dance partners from Norwalk’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, brought enthusiasm and skill to the dance floor at Wilton’s Rolling Hills Country Club this past Saturday, March 24th. All dancers donated their time to the competition, executing routines that impressed an enthusiastic sold-out audience.

“Our 5th Annual Dancing with the Stars gala was one of the best events EVER. The dancers were amazing, cheered on by a very enthusiastic crowd. The funds raised will help support programs for older adults with aging diseases. What a successful evening it was! When everyone has a great time and we can surpass our fundraising goals, it a great day for ElderHouse!” said Denise Cesareo, executive director at ElderHouse, the Norwalk, CT based nonprofit adult day center.

This year’s dancers included Carolyn Donohue-Ulman, assistant to president and director of Trademark Anti-Counterfeit, Dooney & Bourke (Norwalk); Hank Fatigate, general manager, Little Pub Wilton (Wilton); Eric Ferraris, chief operating officer, Tooher-Ferraris Insurance Group (Wilton); Nathan Gottlieb, co-owner, All Seasons Marine Works (Rowayton/Westport); Karen Kelly, senior vice-president First County Bank (Stamford); Andrea Kostanecki, realtor, William Pitt Sotheby’s (Rowayton); and Kristin McClutchy, owner, Pure Barre Darien (Darien).

The star dancers competed for coveted awards, and voting saw top awards go to:

  • Best Performance by a Male: Hank Fatigate of Little Pub Wilton
  • Best Performance by a Female: Karen M. Kelly of First County Bank
  • People’s Choice Award (voted for by attendees): Nate Gottlieb of All Seasons Marine
  • Best Friend to ElderHouse (most money raised for ElderHouse pre-event: Eric Ferraris of Tooher-Ferraris Insurance Group
  • Above and Beyond Special Award (for outstanding contribution and effort to help make event a success): Carolyn Donohue-Ulman of Dooney & Bourke

Judges for the event were Christine Titus, owner and artistic director of Conservatory of Dance in Wilton; Ted Thomas, associate artistic director of The New England Academy of Dance in New Canaan; and Gina Zangrillo, president of Darien Sport Shop in Darien.

The extraordinary fundraising outcome was the combined result of ticket sales, pledges, onsite voting, live auction, and a paddle raise.

About ElderHouse

Celebrating its 40th year serving the community, ElderHouse Adult Day Center is a highly-regarded nonresidential facility that delivers nurturing, respectful, and responsive hands-on care along with recreational activities to senior adults living with aging diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, stroke, depression, heart disease, and diabetes. ElderHouse provides award-winning adult care and socialization in a safe and nurturing environment. It offers seniors the opportunity to remain as independent as possible, while sharing time with others, receiving necessary medical care, and affording time and peace of mind to caregivers. www.elderhouse.org.