Realtor Jeremy Callahan is no stranger to new challenges. There was a time when he’d never sold a house. Today, he’s an agent for a leading real estate firm in Ooltewah. Now he’s hoping his ability to learn and do new things will serve him well on the dance floor.
Callahan is one of eight local celebrities who will be competing to win a mirror ball trophy in the eighth annual Dancing with the Chattanooga Stars, a fundraiser for Partnership for Families, Children, and Adults. There’s just one catch: he’s never danced before.
“My wife laughed when I told her what I’m doing,” he says. “But I’m going to be helping a lot of people, so it’s going to be worth it.”
Each Dancing with the Chattaanooga Stars participant is paired with a professional instructor from Dance Tonight, a ballroom dance studio located on East Main Street. Partnership has placed Callahan with Catharine Coll. Coll’s first instruction was perhaps the most important: have fun.
“The key to an event like this is to enjoy yourself,” Coll says. “So I’m going to start Jeremy out with the basics, and then we’ll go from there.”
Dancing with the Chattaanooga Stars is about more than pulling off great moves; it’s also about raising money for the programs Partnership, a non-profit human services agency, provides in its mission to strengthen vulnerable families and individuals. Callahan has chosen to raise funds for the agency’s Elder Care Management program. His reasons for choosing the program were personal.
“My grandmother had rheumatoid arthritis, which was very crippling,” he says. “Through its Elder Care program, Partnership helps seniors maintain independence in their own home. They also protect them from exploitation, abuse, and neglect.”
Callahan has ambitious plans for raising money. In addition to asking local businesses for donations, he’ll be creating a web site with videos of people who have benefitted from the services Partnership provides, and holding a fundraiser at Big River Grille Downtown (time and date to be determined).
The dancer who raises the most money will win the Grand Dancing Champion Award.
Callahan joined Signature Brokers this year as its newest residential agent. He’s a native Chattanoogan and graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he majored in communications and marketing. He recently returned to Chattanooga after several years in the real estate industry in Nashville.
“Chattanooga will always be home to me,” he says. “You can leave the office after work, and within minutes be on a hiking trail or in a kayak on the river. When you add this to the tremendous growth the Chattanooga area has experienced over the past few years, it was an easy decision for us to bring our growing family and our real estate business home.”
Although Callahan is determined to have fun, he says he’s nervous about his date with a dance floor. However, he and Coll have plenty of time to prepare for the event, which will take place Saturday, June 20 at 8 p.m. at Tivoli Theater.
To purchase tickets, go to ChattanoogaOnstage.com. To donate to Callahan’s fundraising campaign, go to DancingWithTheChattanoogaStars.com and click on his picture. Contact Callahan at (423) 972-4423.