By Amanda Hatfield
BREVARD -- Get ready to shake what your momma gave you, all for a good cause!
The second annual Zumba Party will be Saturday, March 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at Rodes Park Community Center in West Melbourne, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m.
All proceeds raised during the Zumba Party will be used to help build Promise in Brevard, a safe, enjoyable and affordable housing concept in West Melbourne, where individuals with and without special needs can live, work and thrive.
"We have been approved for a $750,000 predevelopment loan and will use $500,000 of it to purchase our first phase -- about 12 acres -- of the 39 acres on Norfolk Parkway in West Melbourne," said Betsy Farmer, co-founder of Promise in Brevard. "What we raise during the Zumba Party will help us with our day-to-day operations and development."
Promise in Brevard is a dream-turned-reality of Ms. Farmer, whose son and co-founder, Luke, has Down syndrome. In order to gain more support and funding, Ms. Farmer has encouraged Brevard County residents to hold fundraising events of their own.
After hearing of its concept, Palm Bay resident and Zumba instructor, Amy Smith, was instantly drawn to Promise.
"I got involved with Promise a year ago, when I found out what Promise was and wanted to help in whatever way I could," Mrs. Smith said. "What could I do? I could Zumba."
From there, Mrs. Smith contacted Ms. Farmer and told her that she wanted to have a Zumba Party for Promise.
"I have four sons -- three have been diagnosed with autism, and what Promise in Brevard means to my family and my boys' future was something I had to be involved in," Mrs. Smith added.
Since last year's Zumba Party was so well-received within the community, Mrs. Smith and Ms. Farmer decided to make it an annual event.
"The whole community is welcome to come out," Ms. Farmer said. "Florida Tech's football team will make a special appearance at this year's event once again."
In addition to the Florida Tech football team, attendees can expect to witness a new dance-off competition.
"This year, we have added a 'Dancing for Donuts' challenge between the Sheriff's Department and the West Melbourne Police Department," Ms. Farmer said. "Each team will do a one-minute Zumba routine with an instructor and the crowd will determine the winner."
Ms. Farmer said that the winning team will have doughnuts delivered to their station by Promise residents. She is also encouraging other departments from around the county to get involved.
"People should come out to the Zumba Party because, even if you're not a Zumba person, or into dancing, spectators are welcome," Mrs. Smith said. "It's all for a good cause and every dollar raised is one that will make a difference in the lives of someone with special needs."
With the plans for the event in the works, Ms. Farmer said she looking forward to another incredible event for Promise.
"It's so much fun -- two straight hours of belly laughs," she said. "Plus, the community can meet our future residents and see first-hand the people they are helping."
Zumba Party 2013 is Saturday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to noon, with registration at 9:30 a.m., at Rodes Park Community Center in West Melbourne.
Cost is $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
Prizes will be awarded to the top five individuals, who raise the highest amount through pledge contributions for Promise.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Frank Kaiser will emcee the event.
For more information about Promise in Brevard, or to register for Zumba Party 2013, visit www.promiseinbrevard.com.
Rodes Park Community Center is located at 3410 Flanagan Ave., West Melbourne.