Dancing for a Good Cause

Dancing with the Credit Union Stars
The audience named Team Le Freak— Jonathan Allen and Monya Moyer of Wescom CU —the winning dance couple at the Sixth Annual Dancing with the Credit Union Stars event held Sept. 19.

The five dancing couples had been hard at work on their routines since July—perfecting each step, turn, and twist. Only two of the couples came away with mirror ball trophies at Thursday’s night “Dancing With the Credit Union Stars” event, but they were all winners where it counted: helping to raise a record-setting $30,000 for Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals.

The sixth annual “Dancing With the Credit Union Stars” presented by the Tri-County Chapter was held at Center Stage Theater in Fontana. The theme was diamonds and pearls to commemorate the chapter’s 75th (Diamond) anniversary.


The judges named Team Bella y La Bestia (Beauty and the Beast)—Jeremiah Butalid and Ana Alvares of SchoolsFirst FCU—as their winning couple at the Dancing with the Credit Union Stars event.


Attendees voted for their favorite dance couple while donating money to CMN. Every dollar donated counted as one vote. With the assistance of a CO-OP Miracle Match, the 2019 event surpassed last year’s amount by $5,000.


The five dance couples (along with Lucia Parra who trained all of them—far left) eagerly await the results.


Thinkwise CU CEO Heri “Eddie” Garcia was a most enthusiastic masters of ceremonies. Judges Colleen Savage (Wescom CU); Diana Dykstra (California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues); Nader Moghaddam (Financial Partners CU); Liz Davis (Thinkwise CU); and Sara Hackett (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles) had the unenviable job of critiquing the couples and, for the first time ever, selecting a second winner.


Judges Sara Hackett (Children’s Hospital LA); Colleen Savage (Wescom CU); Liz Davis (Thinkwise CU); Diana Dykstra (California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues); and Nader Moghaddam (Financial Partners CU). Far left: Tri County Chapter Board member Kathie Chism of Wescom CU.


Before the dancing got started, Hackett told the crowd that Dancing with the Stars is one of her favorite TV shows. “So, when I was asked, to not only attend and heard about what you were doing for CMN hospitals, but also to be a judge tonight, you have made my personal dreams come true,” she said.

Hackett went on to provide information about Children's Hospital LA (CHLA), which provides care from everything from colds to cancer treatments.  It treated more than 528,000 children from Southern California last year alone. CHLA is a true safety net hospital, like most CMN Hospitals, meaning that it never turns anyone away based on the family’s financial status. More than 72 percent of the patients are on Medi-Cal or have no insurance.


Thinkwise CU CEO Heri “Eddie” Garcia (with Diana Dykstra) was a most enthusiastic masters of ceremonies.


“This means that they would not receive world-class services and care without philanthropic support,” Hackett said. “So, what you do here in the credit union community as well as tonight really does go to help our kids. It helps provides things such as dance therapy because a lot of them can’t express what they’re going through verbally.”

The hospital uses art, dance, and music therapy—which can’t be billed to an insurance—to give kids an outlet, she added.

Then it was time for the dancing. The couples--The Extraordinaires (George San Martin, Thinkwise CU; Kathy Ramirez, Inland Valley FCU); Le Freak (Jonathan Allen and Monya Moyer, Wescom CU); Mambo Schwag (Carlos Burga and Debbie Dias, Financial Partners CU); Bella y La Bestia/Beauty and the Beast (Jeremiah Butalid and Ana Alvares, SchoolsFirst FCU); and Doble Dou (Jennifer Bassford, Arrowhead CU and Fernando Gauna, American Family Funding)--all entertained and thrilled the crowd with their fantastic moves. Some audience members waved signs for their favorite couple. After each performance, the judges held up their "10" paddles (similar to those used by the judges of the TV show) to show their appreciation.


Team Extraordinaires—George San Martin of Thinkwise CU and Kathy Ramirez of Inland Valley FCU—show off their dance moves.


The audience selected Team Le Freak as the winning couple. The judges picked Team Bella y La Bestia as the second winning couple. Both received the mirror ball trophies similar to those received by the winners of the popular TV show competition.

Sponsors for the event were Thinkwise CU, Wescom CU, Financial Partners FCU, Altura CU, Arrowhead CU, SWBC, Ultracs, Autoland, American Family Funding. Lucia Parra trained all the dancers.

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