2018-05-10 / Living

Teddy Bear Ball raises money to help kids in crisis

By Paula K. Schmidt
810-452-2647 • pschmidt@mihomepaper.com


Alan Lichtenberg and Melissa Llewellyn pose at the start of their routine. Alan Lichtenberg and Melissa Llewellyn pose at the start of their routine. GRAND BLANC TWP. — Frightened by a sudden traumatic event, or other difficult life circumstances, sometimes a soft, cuddly teddy bear is all it takes to help a young child go from anxious and scared, to calm and ready to face their fears.

This is the mission of the Grand Blanc Chamber of Commerce, their sponsors, donors, event committee and partners who annually puts on the Teddy Bear Ball, a fundraiser which goes toward purchasing the bears for first responders, emergency rooms, family service agencies and other organizations throughout the county.

The bears are made in Flint by women who work at St. Lukes New Life Center doing sewing of not only the cuddly ursines, but for manufacturers such as Stormy Kromer and other clothing companies.

One of the major supporters of the project is the cadre of dance professionals who donate their time every year to take on an amateur partner and teach them a dance, performed in competition for the coveted mirror ball trophy.


(Below) Hurley’s Alisa Craig, is shown dancing with professional Barry Douglas and accepting a well-deserved trophy (right). (Below) Hurley’s Alisa Craig, is shown dancing with professional Barry Douglas and accepting a well-deserved trophy (right). This years dance teams consisted of pro Alan Lichtenberg and Melissa Llewellyn, the owner of Pure Bliss Salon and Spa, pro Deborah White, last year’s champion, who tutored Mark Zyber, a salesperson at Suski Chevrolet/Buick.

Also on the floor with light feet were Kendar Reynolds who mentored brand-new Lieutenant Matt Simpson of the Grand Blanc Township Police Department, earning third place for their footwork this year. Steve Reynolds took on Heather Jakeway, president of The Condominium Group, Inc.,

Darrell Lyvere swung Allison Smith, a local cosmetologist around the floor. Smith took up the challenge to dance after her husband turned down the invitation, and looked like a natural. Mark Landaal, vice president of the in-store division of Landaal Packaging danced his way through the contest with professional Michelle Lichtenberg.

Susan Douglas, a certified teacher, fulfilled a bucket list dream for Gary Nucian of Merrill Lynch.

Hurley’s Alisa Craig, administrator of Wellness and Population Health trod the boards with Barry Douglas, who has been teaching for almost 40 years—and it showed when they took home the coveted trophy at the end of the evening.

The event is always full of laughter and fun with exciting costumes and personal tales of how the bears bring joy to children in the worst of circumstances. Chamber President Jet Kilmer and her Chairman of the chamber board, Dave Donahue, emcee the event with partners and radio personalities Johnny Burke and Lisa Marie of 103.9 The Fox, to ensure everyone gets the credit they deserve for helping in the fundraising effort.


Darrell Lyvere and Allison Smith wow the crowd with their fun dance number during the event. Darrell Lyvere and Allison Smith wow the crowd with their fun dance number during the event. Deejay Chris Foster of Momentum Entertainment volunteers his time and there is a silent as well as live auction of merchandise donated by generous area businesses. If you would be interested in participating in the event in the future, you can contact the chamber at 810-695-4222.



Last year’s champ Deborah White teaches salesman Mark Zyber a few new tricks on the dance floor. Last year’s champ Deborah White teaches salesman Mark Zyber a few new tricks on the dance floor.

Mark Landaal looked like he had been dancing all his life with the help of professional Michelle Lichtenberg. Mark Landaal looked like he had been dancing all his life with the help of professional Michelle Lichtenberg.

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