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Dancing with the Stars of Casper is putting the Villains center stage this year!

CASPER, Wyo. — Dancing with the Stars of Casper is putting the Villains center stage this year!

Get dressed up, gather your friends, and come support a good cause this October 23 at the Ford Wyoming Center, where Mercer Family Resource Center will be putting on its 11th annual Dancing with the Stars of Casper: Villains! This entertaining fundraiser features well-known community leaders who will be dancing for your vote and money to support Mercer FRC’s mission to provide education, counseling and prevention services that build stronger and healthier youth and families in our community.

These dedicated community leaders train for months arranging choreography, designing costumes, and practicing sequences of dance in order to entertain you and our judges! After each dance, a judges’ panel consisting of other community members who support Mercer FRC provide comments and feedback while the audience votes for their favorite act and enjoys a delicious plated dinner, complete with wine donated by Uncorked.

In its 50+ years serving Natrona County, Mercer FRC has seen funding sources change, shift and even disappear. However, the need for its counseling, education and prevention services remains.

10,000+ youth from Wyoming took the biannual Prevention Needs Assessment (PNA) survey in 2020 and the results show there is more work to be done: roughly 1 in 5 youth reported feeling depressed, hopeless, and/or worthless most if not all of the time in the 30 days prior to taking the survey, and more than 20% (2,203 respondents) indicated they had seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months. Mercer FRC seeks to address these concerns through programs such as affordable counseling services, Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid training, and the Youth Empowerment Council (YEC). YEC’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Team (SPAT) is a group of youth volunteers who spread awareness by educating their peers on the warning signs, risk factors and protective factors associated with suicide. YEC’s #WYAmplify events keep youth from using substances while simultaneously encouraging them to discover new talents and activities that they truly enjoy while connecting with other youth. Having healthy interests and feeling connected are powerful protective factors when it comes to mental wellness. Furthermore, Mercer FRC is the lead agency for the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force and will continue to support the its work.

When we look at 2020 PNA youth perspectives on nicotine and vaping, more than 80% of youth believe their peers regularly use an electronic nicotine device or “vape,” but less than 19% reported actually using a vape product. Self-reported cigarette usage is down to less than 5%. Mercer FRC’s Tobacco & Vaping Education class helps youth discover that nonuse of nicotine is actually normal for teens. Youth will also identify why people start using nicotine, practice skills for resisting peer pressure to use nicotine products, and create a quit plan that will work for their lives and their needs. Mercer FRC is equipped with classes like Insight into Substance Prevention that informs youth and adults of the risks associated with alcohol abuse as well as tobacco and other drug use. These classes use science and research that explain how substances including THC can impact developing brains and bodies, and stresses the message that just because something is legal in some states doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Without funding from generous donors like you, the burden of cost for these services falls on the shoulders of those who need it most, so come enjoy a night of food, fun, and incredible dance moves at the most entertaining fundraiser of the year! While you’re there, bid on the wide variety of live and silent auctions, participate in the People’s Choice Award competition by voting for your favorite dance act, and know you are supporting the work that makes a positive difference in our community. Visit https://mercercasper.com/ for more information.

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