Dance competition to raise funds for CASA

Spectators will be able to enjoy a ballroom dance competition, while assisting needy children who are part of the Clayton County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program, said the brain behind the competition.

Jeff Turner, former Clayton County chief of police, said the "Clayton's Finest...Dance Off!" competition will help those children have a better Christmas, raising funds to fulfill their wish list.

The competition is presented the Clayton County Juvenile Court and Positive Press PR, he explained.

"It [CASA] is very dear to my heart and I will always...fight for them [needy children in program]," said Turner.

The competition will be similar to the popular "Dancing with the Stars" TV show, where dancers will ballroom-dance with their partners, to a song of their choice, said Turner. The five couples will also dance simultaneously to the same song towards the end of the competition, where the judges will narrow it down to the three finalists.

The winner will be chosen the strongest applause received from audience members, he said.

Turner added that he is competing in the dance off, with his wife as his partner. "It [performance] is not going to be pretty," joked Turner, during a telephone interview.

The competition will take place on Saturday, at 7 p.m., at the VIP Complex of The Beach at Clayton County International Park, 2300 Highway 138 S.E., Jonesboro, according to Turner.

Tickets are $10 per person and individuals are asked to donate a toy for the cause, added Jane Glaze, an active member of the Ambassadors Behind CASA (ABC). For tickets, individuals should call (770) 471-9161, she said.

Glaze said Ambassadors Behind CASA is a membership for volunteers whose goal is to provide service for the county's CASA program.

Besides Turner, another competing couple includes Gerald Bostock, director of the Clayton County CASA program, and Debbie Stinson, chair professor for the Ambassadors Behind CASA, said Glaze.

Turner added that there will be three competition judges, including Terry Baskin, Clayton County tax commissioner, and Steve Teske, judge for the Clayton County Juvenile Court.

Glaze said this fund-raising event is important, because it will allow children in need, to have the Christmas they deserve.

Glaze said CASA is a program in which trained community volunteers are appointed a judge, to speak up for the best interest of children involved in juvenile court deprivation proceedings.

"CASA becomes the voice and friend to a child," said Glaze. "They make recommendations to the court of what is best for the child."

Participants assist children who are in the care of relative, said Glaze.

"Instead of being put into foster care, relatives step in and save them from going into the foster care system," said Glaze. "Sometimes these relatives aren't financially ready to raise a child again."

Funds raised during the dance-off will help take some of the burden off of the caregivers, providing Christmas gifts for the children, Glaze said.

She said the children make a list with items valued at no more than $100, and their individual sponsor purchases those items for them.