Final preps for local DWTS event - It's thanks to the dance pro's at Fred Astaire Studio's that make's this possible.
The 13 celebrity dancers, like business owners Mike Keller and Sylvia Alvarez and yes, myself, learn and try to perfect a professionally choreographed routine.
The three of us have been practicing at Fred Astaire's North Tampa location.
My dance pro, Chris Carr, has been the very best teacher and so patient with me. But, I can't lie, I've been a nervous wreck. But, Keller's daughter, Morgan, and his two nephews, Jason and Ryan Kaczynski, really put this in perspective.
Six charities benefit from the Hands Across the Bay fundraiser, including two that help those suffering from domestic abuse.
Right now, ABC Action News is in the midst of our annual campaign to stop the violence. "It helps the community stay strong and the people that need it," said 12 year old Jason.
Nine-year-old Morgan added, "We have to make sure we have enough money, so they can be happy and healthy, too."
The children spent their own money to cast votes for their uncle. Each vote is a $10 donation, and with it, another priceless lesson.
"Family comes first," said 9-year-old Ryan. "That's why we used the money we earned to help our uncle. But it doesn't matter who people vote for because all the money goes to help others."
And speaking of firsts: the dress shop that outfitted the dancers in ABC's national Dancing with the Stars show in it's first season is providing all the gowns for this local event! -- gowns that run in the thousands.
"You are getting something that is completely one of kind. There are no two like it in the world. One of these can run anywhere from 5 to $8,000," said Michelle Butler.
Butler, who helps run the shop Designs to Shine, in Pinellas Park, said it's their way of giving back.
"Hands Across the Bay is an amazing charity and it helps so many people -- and it is local. So it's very important to us. We are a tiny business and most people would not know that we were here, and we really care about our community," said Butler.
So, all the dancers agree the least we can do is dance. But, because I am so nervous. I didn't think it would hurt to get some advice from my colleagues. Brendan performed the very first year and even showed me he even reimburse the moves from 6 years ago!
But as far as comforting:
"You should be nervous. It is terrifying and it's a lot of work, don't you think so?" Brendan asked.
Jamison, who's emceed it for the past four years, didn't do much better in the calming me down department
"How many dancers are there?" he asked. I replied, "Thirteen."
"Ok," he said. "There is really a good chance three or four will be worse than you so don't worry about it you'll be fine."
Thank goodness my dear sweet Linda rounded out the advice.
"Don't listen to these boys trying to scare you," said Linda "You are a beautiful woman (thank you Linda)) You are going to be a good dancer."
If you are interested in learning more about the event or vote for your favorite dancer, you can head to www.handsacrossthebay.org
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
An eclectic mix of world leaders including President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro will eulogize Nelson Mandela at a massive memorial service Tuesday in South Africa. INSIDE: Watch live coverage.