(Note: Judy Wishnek is the Charlotte Commercial Market Executive for Capital Bank. She’s a 19-year resident of Charlotte, a mom and definitely not a dancer.)
This “must attend” social event pairs local stars with professional dancers of Charlotte Ballet, to raise funds for the Ballet and each star’s chosen charity. I’m happy to say that collectively, with all the dancers, we’ve raised almost $600,000 so far.
I am dancing to support the YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s Y Readers program.
Why Y Readers?
Y Readers started right here in Charlotte, and now is a nationally recognized literacy program serving students in grades K-3 who are reading below grade level. Y Readers uses an engaging curriculum taught by enthusiastic teachers and volunteers to improve students’ literacy skills and self-confidence in the classroom.
The program operates a six-week summer camp and a before/after-school program in selected local schools. Y Readers is a game changer for kids in our community!
Reading proficiently by the end of third grade is a key indicator of future achievement in high school and beyond. Studies show that students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. I was shocked to learn only 39% of Charlotte students are reading at or above the proficient level at fourth grade (2015 NAEP Report Card).
As a mom, it’s important to me to help children in our community be successful and increase their chances of graduating. That is why I’m dancing.
A Leap of Faith
I still wonder, occasionally, why I said Yes.
It’s a major leap of faith for me, because I am a banker, not a dancer.
In fact, I have only danced once – on my wedding day; I didn’t even go to my high school prom! When a friend asked me to consider Dancing with the Stars of Charlotte, I resisted at first, but ultimately I agreed to dance so I could support Y Readers and raise awareness for childhood literacy.
So, now we’re in the countdown week and I’m nervous. Josh and I have practiced, practiced, practiced (even with a broken toe!) and still I wonder how it will go. But I realize it all comes down to making a difference.
No matter what happens on that stage, it will all be worth it because I will be a part of expanding Y Readers and sharing the joy of reading. Together, we can make a difference for our children and our community.