MANY PEOPLE IN OUR INDUSTRY ARE VERY INVOLVED IN CHARITABLE ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF WORK. THIS “GIVING BACK” DEPARTMENT PAYS TRIBUTE TO THOSE PEOPLE AND SPOT LIGHTS THE ORGANIZATIONS THEY ARE INVOLVED WITH.
You didn’t know that about Steve Allen, Executive Vice President of Budco, Inc., did you?
Well, it’s only a slight exaggeration. Last fall, Steve Allen
stepped boldly out of his comfort zone to benefit some deserving kids in need. He agreed to dance on stage for the 2016 Spotlight on San Miguel: Dancing with the Tulsa Stars in front of 650 guests at the Cox Business Center. Steve and his professional dance partner, Annette Baird, competed against five other dance couples to raise funds for San Miguel Middle School and THEY WON, bringing in the lion’s share of the $528,000 Spotlight 2016 raised for the school.
“It was a no brainer,” Steve says. “When I was asked to dance, I knew it was a good cause. And once I met the students, I was hooked.” San Miguel Middle School is dedicated to helping children from challenging environments break the cycle of poverty to achieve academic and personal success. That’s accomplished through a 12:1 student-teacher ratio, extended school days and school year, and an
emphasis on literacy.
Spotlight 2016 took place on November 5th and Steve began rehearsing with Annette during the summer at the Allstar Ballroom Dance Studio, where she is an instructor. They polished their Viennese Waltz to an instru-mental piece from the movie “Cinderella.” Steve ably stepped into the role of Prince Charming while Annette
danced the title role.
In the months leading up to the event, which featured cocktails, dinner, entertainment and the dance competition, Steve and his campaign manager, J.K. Warren (CEO of the William K. Warren Foundation), solicited votes and table sales to help bring in funds. Voting opened in August ($10 per vote) online and continued through the end of the dance competition. “I was determined
to do whatever it took for the kids,” says Steve. He cited the Gospel values of his Catholic faith as his inspiration. “That’s what I believe God was asking of me, as Jesus’ disciple. To do what is within my power to help those in need.”
It was a good thing Steve was so determined because the competition among the dance couples was fierce. “That’s what you like to see,” says John Dowdell, president/principal of San Miguel. “A fun and healthy competition drives the fundraising and also makes it a fun night for everyone.” So throughout the summer and early fall, Steve and Annette rehearsed their waltz and recruited votes. They gave a special performance of their routine at the school for the enjoyment of the kids. Each homeroom at San Miguel “adopted” a Star Dancer to encourage, pray for and support through a “penny war” competition with the other classes. In September,
the students gave all six star dancers a “heroes’ welcome” at the school. “My class really touched my heart. All the dancers were blown away by the reception the kids gave us,” Steve says. “I really have to give kudos to my
professional dancer partner, Annette. She is a fantastic dancer and teacher.”
Asked what advice Steve would give anyone who may be asked to dance for Spotlight 2017, Steve says, “Do it! By all means, do it! It’s work, but it’s so much fun.” He stresses that dancing for San Miguel is something you can
put your body, mind and soul into in order to make someone else’s life better.
“San Miguel transforms young lives,” Steve adds. “And the students are aware of, and grateful for, the oppor-tunities they’re being given. I feel blessed to be a part of that.”
Your story may just inspire others to give back in their own communities or for causes they are passionate about. Submit your story, or the story of the person who inspires you, to Michele@emailIR.com.