Real People: Stacey Weiss Nonprofit director puts a leg up for charity
By H.M. Cauley
Stacey Weiss is dedicated to doing good. As the executive director of the nonprofit Bert’s Big Adventure, she organizes annual trips to Disney World for chronically-ill and physically challenged children in the listening area Q100, the radio station where her husband, Bert, anchors the morning drive show. But her latest adventure goes beyond being a good deed: It’s making her muscles ache.
On Feb. 28, Weiss will be one of eight local personalities participating in the Fourth Annual Celebrity Dance Challenge to raise money for the Atlanta-based Eating Disorders Information Network. Preparing for the event has meant strenuous, 90-minute workouts at least three times a week since early January. And even though Weiss danced professionally for 20 years, the practice regime is intense.
“I’m sore all over!” said Weiss, who lives in Buckhead. “I did ballet, modern, all sorts of dance for 20 years, but I stopped in my early 20s, and it’s also been that long since I performed. I’m usually in pretty good shape, but this is working muscles I haven’t used in a long time. But I’m having so much fun, I don’t even care.”
The competition includes John Lemley of WABE radio, Michele Rhea Caplinger of the Recording Academy/GRAMMY Foundation, personal trainer and fitness model La’Mere Cornelius, Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund, Souper Jenny owner Jenny Levinson, Watershed chef Joe Truex and Mark Owens, the Braves’ “Big Screen Guy.” But Weiss is confident that her dance track record will give her a leg up.
“My partner Freddy Gonzalez is a Latin dancer, and we’ve put together a 2-minute program that has salsa, mambo and meringue,” she said. “We did our own choreography and are just polishing it now. I’d forgotten how much I love to dance, and it all came back to me when we started this.”
In fact, Weiss is having so much fun, she plans to keep dancing after the event. And she’s even got her husband of 18 years hooked. “He doesn’t like to dance, but he’s so excited about the Latin stuff, that he said for the first time, he’d like to take lessons,” said Weiss.
Weiss added that she’s attended past ENID dance events and has just been waiting for an invitation. But she’s also solidly behind the organization’s work for women. She’s been notifying everyone she knows that they don’t need to be at the event to support the cause; they can vote for her online anytime before Feb. 28, and each $1 vote will go to the cause. Last year’s contest raised about $50,000, and doubling that amount is this year’s goal.
No matter how much the event raises, one thing is sure, said Weiss: “Oh, I’m winning this thing, for sure.”
The Dance Challenge will be held 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Buckhead Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road. Tickets are $35 general admission; $60 for a table. To purchase tickets or to cast a vote, visit celebritydancechallenge.org.
Every other Wednesday, H.M. Cauley brings you positive stories from our community. To suggest a story idea, e-mail email@example.com.