Topic: Educational Initiatives | VIDEO
Inspired by the hit show "Dancing with the Stars," WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge, La., spearheaded a local version to raise money for the Big Buddy Program, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring and programming geared toward academic success for disadvantaged youth. By the end of the last tango, more than $100,000 had been raised to help thousands of children in the community. WBRZ anchor Sylvia Weatherspoon co-hosted the show, and other area "celebrities," including Chief Forecaster Pat Shingleton, "2une-In" co-anchor Whitney Vann, Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden and Glen "Big Baby" Davis from the LSU basketball team, hit the dance floor. Each performer devoted hours of practice to prepare for the event with their partners, who were professional dancers from local dance studios. The night of the big event, a crowd of 1,500 gathered to watch. In promotion of the fundraiser, WBRZ aired 30-second promotional spots weeks in advance, the news department covered rehearsals during various newscasts, Big Buddy Executive Director Gay Mack appeared on the morning show and the "2une-In" staff gave away tickets on-air to generate enthusiasm. With the funds raised, Big Buddy was able to continue an after-school program for at-risk youth.