A Special Wish Foundation – Dayton has been making special wishes come true for local children for 40 years. These wishes wouldn’t be possible without the continued generosity of the community. I ask you to join ASW and continue to give local Wish Kids and their families memories that will last a lifetime.
The 18th Annual Original Dancing with the Dayton Stars, is benefiting A Special Wish Foundation of Southwest Ohio, the area’s only wish-granting organization! This fun and unique event will be held at the Wright State University Nutter Center on Saturday, March 25, 2023.
This event is a wonderful night of dancing and great music and boasts a much-anticipated “Dancing with the Dayton Stars” dance competition. Featuring local community leaders paired with professional dancers as they leave it all on the dance floor in their quest to capture the coveted mirrored ball trophy! All proceeds from the dance will go directly to granting the wishes of local children who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
Click here to VOTE NOW for your favorite dancer!
See which dancer is in the lead HERE!
Amanda Burks is a dedicated and knowledgeable fundraising and creative professional who currently serves as the Senior Producer at Real Art. She was previously the Chief Development Officer at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Dayton. In this role, she oversaw the organization's capital campaign fundraising efforts, and created and implemented the organization’s strategic approach to fund development and oversaw the major giving, annual fund, planned giving, Adopt-A-Room, and special event fundraising initiatives. She was previously VP at vellaINC public relations, is a 2018 Forty Under 40 Award winner and a graduate of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce's EMPOWER program, Cohort 3. She also serves on the Wright State University Alumni Association Board of Trustees and the Five Rivers MetroParks Foundation Board of Directors. Amanda lives in Springboro with her husband Jason and two son's Lucas (15) and Ronan (12).
Eric Ebbert is the SVP, Sales & Marketing for River Valley Credit Union. He and River Valley Credit Union are long time contributors to A Special Wish Foundation – having raised thousands of dollars for the organization. This is Eric’s second performance with Dancing With The Stars and he fully expects to win this year. Eric and River Valley Credit Union are also heavily involved with 4 Paws for Ability, Shoes for the Shoeless and Agape for Youth. Eric also manages Luv Locz, a reggae/funk band from Dayton.
Brian is excited to be part of this year’s Dayton Dancing with the Stars in support of A Special Wish Foundation. He is proud to represent Brady Ware & Company, where he serves as their VP of Human Resources. Brian has been with the firm since 2001 and counts himself lucky to work with such an amazing group of professionals. He is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Miami Valley Human Resources Association and holds his Senior Certified Professional (SHRM‐SCP) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certifications.
Brian loves supporting the Dayton community. He has been the workplace campaign coordinator for the United Way of Greater Dayton and Culture Works for the past 20 years.
Brian’s dancing career began when he won a can of Hi‐C Orange drink at a sixth‐grade school dance. He advanced to high school musicals and show choir at Lehman Catholic High School in Sidney, OH and then performed at Barefoot Bay Resort in Elkhart Lake, WI during the summers while attending Miami University. This led to the opportunity to perform for a month at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas in the musical revue “New Faces of 1989.”
After a 30+ year dancing hiatus, he dedicates this special dance to his dad, Bernie Jacob, and his high school musical director, Gail Brandewie.
Tej Joshi is the Host of Good Day Dayton on ABC 22/FOX 45. With his big energy and friendly smile, he travels across the Miami Valley featuring for television some of the best places to eat, explore, and have fun. He also takes serious pride in the work he does with non-profits. Tej features countless area non-profits on Good Day Dayton, and he often volunteers his time MCing events for those non-profits!
Tej has lived in the Miami Valley for about a year. Before that, he lived in Kentucky where he also worked in morning television. Tej went to college at the University of Miami, and he grew up in the Washington DC area.
Stacey has been with Premier Health for 23+ years with increasing scope and responsibility in Human Resources. She has held various Human Resources roles throughout Premier Health and was most recently promoted to System Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer where she has responsibility for all of Human Resources.
She was recognized as a 2014 Woman of Influence as well as a previous Outstanding African American Alumni from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio where she also earned both her B.S., in Human Resources Management and her M.S., in Business & Industrial Management Counseling. She received acknowledgement for her contributions to social justice, equality, and inclusion by the Ohio Diversity Conference as a DiversityFirsts and received the Rainbow Award for her community efforts in promoting racial harmony and reconciliation. In 2002, she was recognized as one of Dayton’s Top 40 Under 40.
She currently sits on the Boards for Wright State University Alumni Association, the Dayton Art Institute and Culture Works. She is also on the Advisory Council for the UNCF.
Heather Martin is a professional writer and editor, co-owning MartinInk with her husband, Brian. She writes and edits content for universities, companies, and nonprofits. She also coaches memoir and fiction writers and does developmental and copy editing for a variety of clients. Heather’s side business is Breathing Room, a home organizing service. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Wittenberg University and a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She was one of Women in Business Networking’s Top 25 Women to Watch in 2019 and is a Dayton Business Journal 40 Under 40 alumni (as well as the former editor and publisher of the DBJ) and a graduate of Leadership Dayton. She also chaired the community resource board at WYSO 91.3 FM for several years, designs props for and performs in community theatre productions in Dayton.
Kate serves as COO for The Foodbank, Inc., the Miami Valley’s largest hunger relief network. She is honored to support the team in distributing nearly 15 million pounds of food annually and is dedicated to the belief that no one should go hungry. Prior to joining the Foodbank, Kate spent 16 years at The Lorenz Corporation, a Dayton-based music publishing company, where she oversaw all operations, including print manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, customer service, and HR. As a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt and an Insights Discovery practitioner, Kate’s leadership style focuses on continuous improvement, team building, and employee empowerment.
Kate has a BM and MM in Vocal Performance, as well as an MBA from Wright State University. Kate has also served as an adjunct voice instructor for the Musical Theatre/Acting Preparatory Program (MAPP) at Wright State University since 2006.
In 2018, Kate was recognized as one of the Dayton Business Journal’s Forty Under 40, as well as Women in Business Networking’s Top 25 Women to Watch.
My name is Tommy Ward. I am the father of three very active kids (Ryleigh, Aubrielle and Jaxon). I work as an operations manager for Cardinal Health, been there for almost 22 years. Cheering my kids on is probably my biggest passion. When I’m not at work, you can most likely find me at a sporting event cheering on my kids.
Thank you to our Sponsors!
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Stephanie & Rex Dickey Party
Mark Finnegan Party
River Valley Credit Union (x2)
Women in Business Networking
MartinInk and Breathing Room
Friends and Family of Stacey Lawson (x4)
Jayne & Tom Gmeiner Party
The Foodbank Inc. (x4)
Anne & Mark Keeton Party
Karen Berry Party
2019 Dayton Dancing with the Stars Champions!
(from left to right: Celebrity Dancer Dr. Steve Burke with dance partner Amanda Horn& Celebrity Dancer Dr. Ann Austria Bockrath with dance partner Craig Johnston.)
Photo by Sam McConnell
2017 Dayton Dancing with the Stars - Valentines Dancers
(2017 Dancers! - from left to right: Lee Anne Austria, Ramon Gaitan, Kathryn Oakes, Brandon Perpich, Ramona Vikan, Alyenendrov Tsorokean, Kristen Perpich,
George Brockman, Amanda Horn, Kurt Lenhart, Sara Andrews, Brad Eaton) Photo by Sam McConnell
Questions? Email or call 937.641.4267.