By Jill Kruse
Witness Editorial Assistant
DUBUQUE — When Dubuque attorney Callie Anglese accepted an invitation this past fall to be a contestant in a dance competition to raise money for local charities, she had no trouble determining which nonprofit organization she wanted her dancing to support.
Through her involvement with the Iowa drug court program, Anglese had witnessed Catholic Charities’ impact on the lives of drug court participants, and she knew she wanted to assist the agency in its efforts.
“Catholic Charities’ Jail & Prison Ministry offers financial, emotional and all-around support to drug court to help people to resist relapse and to deter offenders from reverting back to old, bad habits and lifestyles,” Anglese said. “This is why I chose to support Catholic Charities … and why I’m so honored to have this opportunity to raise money for such an amazing cause.”
Anglese, who practices law at Hammer Law Offices in Dubuque, is one of 10 local celebrities participating in “Dancing with the Stars – Dubuque Style,” a fundraising event sponsored by the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce. It’s a takeoff on the television show “Dancing with the Stars,” which pairs some of America’s most famous men and women with professional dancers for a season-long dance competition. Each participant in Dubuque’s “Dancing with the Stars” is dancing for the benefit of a different nonprofit organization.
Anglese became acquainted with the work of her chosen nonprofit after becoming the defense attorney for the Dubuque and Delaware County Drug Court in 2015. Drug court is a program that allows nonviolent offenders charged with drug-related crimes an alternative to jail if they agree to plead guilty and engage in an intense, court-supervised treatment program. Participants are required to get drug tests, hold a job, attend group treatment meetings and report to a judge once a week.
“Working with the drug court team, I quickly became familiar with Catholic Charities, seeing how this organization helps participants in the program and other oppressed members of our community,” she said.
Since agreeing to participate in “Dancing with the Stars,” Anglese has begun preparing for her performance. Though she took jazz dance classes in junior high and high school, she said she is “far from ‘experienced’” when it comes to dancing, but she is “totally up for learning and excited for this challenge.” Anglese has met twice with her dance partner – Adam Kieffer, owner of Adams’s Dance Connection, LLC. The two have practiced a few salsa moves, she said, but have not yet begun the choreography for their actual performance.
“So far, nothing too scary,” she joked. “And no pulled muscles yet!”
The style of dance and the particular song she will be dancing to will remain a secret until her “Dancing with the Stars” performance, which will be held at the Five Flags Center in Dubuque on the evening of Saturday, May 12.
A panel of three judges will critique and score Anglese’s and the other’s performances, however, the event is not ultimately about determining who has the best dance moves, but rather about the participants raising as much money as possible for their chosen charity.
“My goal is to raise $50,000,” said Anglese. “It is an ambitious goal, but I’m determined to work hard, and I believe with the support of my community and the help of so many others I can reach it.”
Family members and friends are helping Anglese coordinate fundraising events to assist her in reaching her financial goal. At these fundraisers, Anglese said individuals will often share with her the ways in which Catholic Charities and its varied programs have personally impacted their lives.
“I’ve had complete strangers approach me during fundraising events and tell me they found their birth parents with the help of Catholic Charities,” she reflected. “Another person introduced himself to me and told me the story about how Catholic Charities counseling got him through one of the most difficult times in his life.”
“This experience has been amazing thus far, and I’ve met some truly incredible people,” she said.
Anyone interested in learning more about Anglese’s efforts or wishing to make a donation to help her raise money for Catholic Charities can contact her at 563-581-3080, firstname.lastname@example.org, or they may contact Stacy Martin, Catholic Charities’ community relations director, at 563-588-0558 ext. 270, email@example.com.
Callie Anglese and her husband, Ryan, and their four children, Collin, Aleece, Brecken and Dawson pose for a family picture. They are members of St. Mary Parish in East Dubuque, Illinois. Two of the children are enrolled in the Our Lady of Guadalupe program at St. Anthony School in Dubuque. (Contributed photo)