Holiday show to raise funds for Make-A-Wish

By on November 21, 2017

The holiday season has a special significance for students and staff at the Lititz Academy of Dance. Every year, The CoJoMotion Dance Company of the Lititz Academy of Dance performs a holiday show, “A Season for Wishes,” to raise funds for Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware and Susquehanna Valley.

Proceeds have raised over $250,000 since the show started 12 years ago. The event’s fundraising totals are second in the county only to the Mother’s Day Convoy. The 13th annual “A Season for Wishes” will be held on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. at Manheim Township High School, 115 Blue Streak Blvd., Lancaster.

The holiday dance extravaganza features a variety of performances, from tap to jazz, modern to ballet, and Rockette-style kick-lines, all set to beloved sounds of the season. Additionally, local singers perform familiar holiday tunes, and families impacted by Make-A-Wish share touching stories.

“Being able to produce this show has been one of the greatest honors and blessings of my life,” said Lisa Kalinowski, Lititz Academy of Dance founder and artistic director. “When we opened Lititz Academy of Dance, we knew we wanted to use the studio to bring some extra goodness into the world. My husband, Tony, had the idea of doing a charity show at the holidays, and we knew we wanted to help children.”

With a nephew who was a Make-A-Wish child, Lisa and Tony knew it was the right organization with whom to partner for a holiday show.

“There are no words to aptly express the magic and joy that Make-A-Wish gave for my nephew and his family, in one of their darkest hours,” she said. “What this organization provides is a Godsend to countless children and families.”

This vision for “A Season for Wishes” has grown by leaps and bounds through the years and is much more than just a holiday show. Local businesses and Lititz Academy of Dance families donate items and gift baskets — from flat-screen televisions to spa packages — for an event raffle to raise donations beyond tickets sales. The tremendous variety of raffle items are displayed throughout the Lititz Academy of Dance studio throughout the month of November and at Manheim Township High School on the night of the show. Poinsettias and baked goods are also sold to increase the overall donation total.

Annual planning for the event begins every fall, led by studio staff and a team of parent volunteers.

“Every year, our dancers, teachers, and families work diligently to make ‘A Season for Wishes’ a wonderful event from start to finish,” said Christina Houdeshell, event co-chairperson.

Event planning includes two Blitz Days in July and October when CoJoMotion dancers canvas the county to generate support and publicity from local businesses. While the CoJoMotion students certainly have a passion for dance, helping to make a difference in children’s lives takes their talents a step further.

“’A Season for Wishes’ is more than just a performance; it’s about coming together with my second family to spread love and cheer and help children have wonderful experiences,” shared Kyra Booth, senior CojoMotion dancer.

“One of the greatest joys of my entire career has been to see the genuine joy that our dancers have in using their art to help others. I love that they see that one person can make such a difference,” Kalinowski said.

Kalinowski attributes the success of raising over a quarter-million dollars to the studio staff, company members, and parents through the years.

“It is so beautiful to see these families work together. When I think of all the dancers and families who have contributed to ‘A Season for Wishes’ over these past 13 years, it really is a legacy of love,” she concluded.

Photos with Santa may be taken prior to the show at 5 p.m. Raffle donations and event sponsorships are still being accepted.

Advance tickets are sold for $15. On the evening of the event, tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for students.

For more information or to obtain tickets, contact cojo_wishes@lititzacademyofdance.com call or 717- 560-4000.¶

For the past 12 years, The CoJoMotion Dance Company of the Lititz Academy of Dance has performed a holiday show, “A Season for Wishes,” to raise funds for Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware and Susquehanna Valley. This year’s showcase is Dec. 2 at Manheim Township High School.

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