Business man and bar owner, Jimmy Salaheddine knows how to make a good cocktail, but his ability to shake, stir and twist will take on a whole new meaning when he steps on stage at Akron Civic Theatre for Akron Children’s Hospital’s 3rd annual “Dancing for the Kids” event Oct. 24.
Salaheddine, along with eight other local celebrities, will be vying for votes in hopes of raising $100,000 through ticket sales, voting and matching gifts at this year’s event. “I know business and I know Akron, but I don’t know dancing,” said Salaheddine. “I’m all about volunteering and competition, though, so this event is a great way for me to do both and hopefully raise more money for this event than any other year so far.”
Nicknamed “Mr. Akron” by friends and customers, Salaheddine is exactly that – all about Akron. “When the opportunity to join Dancing for the Kids came up I knew I had to do it because it supports children and the community I love so much,” said Salaheddine. “My parents moved to Akron from Lebanon in the 1970s and it’s been home ever since. I was born at Akron General, grew up in Copley, attended The University of Akron and made my start as a business owner in Akron. I am happy to be able to give back to my community.”
With a laugh, Salaheddine added, “I like to say I know about 50 percent of the people who live in this town. Hopefully that translates into raising more money and awareness for Children’s Hospital and recruiting the next class of dancers to support this event next year.”
As the owner of two local bars, Jimmy’s Martini Lounge and Jimmy’s Suburb Inn, Salaheddine is used to working hard, but he wasn’t quite ready for grueling dance rehearsals. In fact, when asked how his practices have been going, he summed it up in one word, “Horrible.” He then clarified, “I mean, my instructor is really, really good, but I don’t dance. I play pool and it shows. She’s making me do things I didn’t know I could do. I have used muscles I didn’t even know I had!”
The community is encouraged to support the event by voting for their favorite dancer online through donations or attending the event. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children. All proceeds from the event will go to support Akron Children’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit akronchildrens.org/dancing or contact the Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation at 330-543-8340.