From elegant ballroom dancing to striking salsa moves, come out and support Fayetteville’s02-29-12-dancing-with-stars.jpg superstars as they dance and boogie the night away. The Center for Economic Empowerment and Development hosts Dancing with the Fayetteville Stars on Saturday, April 14, at the Crown Expo Center.

The event was voted best fundraiser in 2011 by Up & Coming Weekly readers. That honor is not a big surprise to those who have participated in or attended previous events. CEED put a lot of hard work and energy into the event, which helps make a difference in our community.

Originally called the Women’s Center of Fayetteville, The Center for Economic Empowerment and Development is a non-profi t organization that was established May 20, 1990, when a small group of women in the Fayetteville community came together and generated a facility focused on community service. The organization has an emphasis on bringing people and organizations together, without confl ict, to resolve important issues for relief in the community. CEED is dedicated to assisting women and men by helping them fi nd their own strength to succeed. The mission of CEED is to promote growth, productivity and well-being through counseling, education, information and advocacy programs.

The organization has attained success since its beginning, with the creation of three programs: Women’s Business Center, the New Choice Program and the Lease to Home Program. All of these amazing programs have a goal of success, which is an important key to life.

Dancing with the Fayetteville Stars is an important fundraiser for the organization because it focuses on raising money to support the Lease to Home Program. Lilliana Parker, marketing manager at CEED, explained that each year the organization has a goal of raising more money from the fundraiser than the previous year.

“Last year we raised $120,000 and we focus on increasing our budget each year,” Parker says. “We have a goal of making $160,000 at this year’s fundraiser.”

Parker discusses the importance of sponsorship and its signifi cance when raising money for the fundraiser.

“Usually we have 1,000 tables, and depending on the level of sponsorship, that determines the amount of tickets a person can receive,” Parker explains. “Sponsorship levels range from copper level which costs $300, to platinum level which is $10,000.”

Volunteers are a huge focal point in making the fundraiser a success. Because CEED’s mission is focused on helping the community, volunteering is a big part of the event.

“We have a good amount of volunteers for the fundraiser who help out for the event as well as volunteer dancers,” Parker adds. “Usually we have about 40 volunteers for the event.”

Parker said the fundraiser will be a night of fun and enjoyment for all who attend. But the most important part of the night is raising money to help those individuals with low income.

The Lease to Home program is CEED’s innovative program that focuses on assisting those transitioning from homelessness to becoming homeowners. Who doesn’t want to be able to have a safe place to live and call their own? The Lease to Home program offers affordable living and a safe place to live for all walks of life. To date, the program has successfully helped 46 families become homeowners. With the money raised from the fundraiser, CEED hopes to rehabilitate and provide safe, affordable housing for families in need.

“Every year, through our fundraiser, we are happy to present a new home for those low-income families,” Parker says. “It is very tangible and very fast.”

CEED’s one night of entertainment and dance brings optimism and bliss to families for a lifetime.

The fundraiser sweeps the dance fl oor at 5:30 p.m. at the Crown Expo Center. For more information about sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, visit or contact the offi ce at 323-3377.

Photo: Dancing with the Fayetteville Stars was voted best fundraiser in 2011 by Up & Coming Weekly readers.

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