by Katie Scalf
It’s a Saturday night in June, and thirty young adults set aside their everyday tasks. Standing in front of the mirror, they pull on costumes and perfect their makeup, playing at becoming their favorite fictional characters. Why? To attend a ball, and to raise money for PMI Pregnancy Ministries.
With one final look in the mirror, they depart for the Storehouse Community, a church in Greencastle, PA. When they arrive, the church gymnasium smells of a homecooked dinner, and it echoes with laughter and music. Hand-drawn posters of Winnie the Pooh, Batman, Alice in Wonderland, and Katniss Everdeen line the walls. A photo booth with blue streamers and colorful balloons stands ready. The guests tuck their donations into a jar marked for PMI and stride into the room to join the dancing.
This fictional-characters–themed ball is just one of sixteen events organized by Dancing for Life since the group formed in 2014. The ten or so young adults at the core of Dancing for Life work together to pick themes, cook dinner, and decorate the church gymnasium three times a year. As its name suggests, the group hosts dances and gives the donations to PMI, supporting the ministry that advocates for the sanctity of life.
It all started when Miriam Scarbrough was inspired by a fundraising dance her sister participated in for a rescue mission in Philadelphia. Miriam and her friend Brook Chapline decided to celebrate their birthdays that year with a joint birthday party-turned-ball. All their friends dressed up in prom gowns or dress shirts and pants and passed the night doing what they call “Jane-Austen-style” dancing, the kind of line dancing you see in movies like Pride and Prejudice.
The group of friends had so much fun, they decided to make it a regular event, offering dinner and dancing for free. Rather than charging an entry fee to cover the costs, Dancing for Life provides dinner and decorations out of their own pocket and gives any guest donations to a local ministry—PMI.
Miriam says she enjoys having fun with her friends, knowing that the dances also raise money to make a difference in her community.
“It gives a bigger meaning to it, a bigger purpose,” she says. “It’s not just us hanging out and having fun. We’re also doing something that’s helpful to other people that we might not ever meet, and that’s pretty cool.”
Each dance draws around thirty participants, and with the last sixteen dances, Dancing for Life has raised over $2,000 for PMI.
Miriam says that at times, the group wonders if it is making a difference for the ministry, but that seeing the total amount donated is a powerful reminder of the fundraisers’ impact. The donations from these dances help young men and women in the community learn about alternatives to abortion and about the God who loves them.
As she helps raise money for this cause, Miriam continues to learn more about fundraising. She encourages those who are just starting a fundraiser to think about more than just the money.
“Put the focus on making it a good experience for everyone involved,” she says. “If people feel like they’re just giving you a handout, it doesn’t mean anything to them. It’s just giving someone a 20-dollar bill and going on with their life. But if it’s something that means something to everyone involved, then it goes a lot deeper than just raising money.”
So what about you? Your passion might not be Jane-Austen-style dancing, but how can you share what you love with your friends while raising money for a cause you believe in?
Are you already involved with a fundraiser? Tell us about it on Facebook @pmipregnancycenter.
Learn more about Dancing for Life, including info about their next ball, when you join the public Facebook group, “Dancing for Life.”