On Saturday, May 22, The Yocum Institute for Arts Education will host their tenth annual “Dancing with the Reading Stars” fundraiser.
Dancing with the Reading Stars involves a dozen dance pairs from throughout the county representing our diverse community. In addition to creating a 90 second dance routine that is performed via live stream, each pair solicits sponsorships and votes.
The public is encouraged to raise funds by placing votes of $10 for the pair(s) of your choice. Votes can be done online, sent through the mail or by calling the Yocum Institute. Voting closes with the live streamed performances the night of the event.
According to Wendy Kershner, Yocum’s Development Director, “[Yocum] has been in the business of arts education for 87 years. Founded in 1934 as the Wyomissing Institute of Fine Arts, our vision is to ensure that the long-term benefits and impact of the arts on education are available to children regardless of where they live or their family income.”
Kershner also shared that Yocum’s programs are delivered through various partnerships, including the Reading and Wilson School Districts and Berks County Public Libraries.
Yocum originated DWTRS in 2011 to raise the money necessary to support on-going operations, scholarships, productions, and outreach and offsite programs, 50% of which are provided at little or no cost to the community.
Kershner shared that in addition to its onsite classes and preschool, Yocum’s outreach and offsite programs impact 30,000 people a year, 80% of whom are under 18, and 50% of those served are considered at-risk. “Dancers choose their own music and either create their own routine, or work with a Yocum Institute choreographer to assist them in developing a routine,” Kershner said.
“In our first year in 2011, the event sold out with 450 attendees netting over $45,000 for community programs. By 2019, the audience grew to over 500 and raised $120,000.”
This year’s event marks DWTRS’s comeback following last year’s cancellation of the event due to the pandemic, and the Henry Family has generously offered to match every dollar raised.
This year, DWTRS will be held at Stokesay Castle, which will allow for fresh air in the space with 4 pairs of French doors and 4 windows that will be open during the event.
In addition, the event will be live-streamed due to the limited number of tickets available. If you wish to attend the event in person, view the livestream, vote for your favorite dancers, or be an event sponsor, you can contact Wendy Kershner at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 610-376-1576.