Proceeds from the event support community's Student Scholarship Fund
Overland Park, Kans. – March 6, 2020 – On a recent Sunday evening at Tallgrass Creek, a senior living community developed and managed by Erickson Living, the stars were shining—and wearing their dancing shoes.
More than 200 community members had gathered for a "Dancing with the Stars" style fundraiser in Tallgrass Creek's Blue Sky Restaurant, which was transformed into a ballroom complete with a mirror ball, lights and more.
The special event was just one of many Tallgrass Creek residents enjoy throughout the year. With dozens of resident-run clubs and activities, there is always something going on at the Overland Park campus. Maintenance-free apartment living provides residents with more time to enjoy the vibrant retirement lifestyle Tallgrass Creek offers, full of opportunities to pursue new or treasured interests and hobbies while meeting new people.
On this particular evening, Tallgrass Creek was buzzing with excitement as an enthusiastic crowd enjoyed refreshments including wine, beverages and hors d'oeuvres while taking in the live entertainment: dance numbers of all varieties performed by their fellow residents and staff.
"Our residents really love music and dancing," explained Jan Magee, Resident Life Manager at Tallgrass Creek. "We have an active Ballroom Dance Group here on campus, and many residents enjoy getting up to dance at our weekly 'Mix It Up' Happy Hour each Wednesday. We thought a little friendly competition would not only be a lot of fun, but also a great way to raise money for our Student Scholars."
A total of thirteen couples competed, including Blake Marshall, Director of Sales at Tallgrass Creek, and his wife Lindsey, who also works at the community as a Clinical Liaison. Their dance to a country song was a big hit.
"They were phenomenal!" said Jan.
When the community announced the event several weeks ago, Ruth Hellstern was the first to volunteer to participate. Ruth was a new resident at Tallgrass Creek and had been living on campus for only a few weeks. Frank Weyforth, who has been a resident for several years, gamely volunteered to be her partner. Together, they kicked off the evening's festivities.
Later on, resident Judy Geer danced with Nathan Monsees, a member of the human resources team at Tallgrass Creek. While Judy is an experienced dancer and active member of the community's Ballroom Dance Group, Nathan had never had a dance lesson. Working together for weeks leading up to the big event was all worth it for their incredible performance.
Residents especially enjoyed a performance by Fitness Coordinator Camin Bell, and her partner Buck Heath, security officer. Camin had previously studied and even taught dance, and her skills shined through in their crowd-pleasing routine.
Another special moment during the evening was when John and Marilyn Mills danced to their wedding song. The two married about two months prior the "Dancing with the Stars" event after meeting and falling in love at Tallgrass Creek.
"There were chills and tears and so much fun," said Jan of their sweet performance.
In addition to the resident and staff dancers, Tallgrass Creek welcomed two performers from the nearby Crescendo Conservatory, who danced a beautiful ballet together, as well as solo numbers.
"The whole evening was so magical. I kept saying, "I don't want this to end", said Jan. "The residents felt the same way."
For a good cause
Following the event, Tallgrass Creek's Resident Life team developed a video that is now airing on the community's own closed-circuit television station. All residents, even those who were unable to attend the sold-out show, can now vote for their favorite dancers by calling in to a dedicated phone number. Each vote costs $1.00, and all proceeds from both the event tickets and votes will benefit the Tallgrass Creek Student Scholarship Fund.
The fund provides four-year college scholarships to eligible student employees to help offset academic tuition expenses at their college or university. To be eligible for the scholarships, students employed in the Dining Services department must work a minimum of 1,000 hours, build positive relationships with residents and maintain a strong work record while employed at the community.
Tallgrass Creek issued its first scholarship in 2009. Since then, the community has contributed more than $358,500 to help more than 60 students advance their collegiate careers.
About Tallgrass Creek: Tallgrass Creek, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 65-acre campus in Overland Park, Kansas. The not-for-profit community of more than 500 residents and 350 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information can be found at TallgrassCreek.com.
Photo Credit: Rod Zeigler
Photo Caption: Tallgrass Creek residents and staff enjoyed an evening of music, dancing and fun in support of the community's Student Scholarship Campaign. The "Dancing With the Stars" style event is just one of many that contribute to Tallgrass Creek's vibrant retirement lifestyle.