On Thursday, October 17, 2019, at the Unique People Services (UPS) 28th Anniversary Gala and the first "Dancing with the UPS Stars!"
Over 200 supporters, community members, and friends joined us to celebrate and help us to raise the needed funds for our 2050 Grand Concourse Project, as well as provide a wide range of supportive housing and services to individuals and families living with mental health challenges, developmental disabilities, and HIV/AIDS throughout New York City.
Our extraordinary dancing honorees danced the night away for charity as well as being recognized for their excellence in the areas of impact in their respective industries and their dedication and support of the UPS mission. This year's honorees include, Sulma Arzu-Brown, Director of Operations for the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Co-owner of the Boogie Down Grind Café and prolific author, Rosa Garcia owner of the Mott Haven Bar and Grill and founder of 31Agency, Adam Weiss, General Manager, from Atlantic Tomorrow's Office and Tony Martinez, Partner of JLO Holdings. Geetha Rathnamala is the 2019 Unique People Services Individual of the Year. Our celebrity judges included Lisa Sorin, President, of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, singer, and songwriter Bes and American Idol top 20 finalist Bumbly and Hip-Hop Icon Kurtis Blow!
During the evening, hosted by veteran ABC News reporter Darla Miles, event attendees were graced with special entertainment performances. The organization received a special video greeting from Maksim "Maks" Chmerkovskiy of the WABC television series, Dancing with the Stars, and the UPS Day Habilitation Program opened the evening with a dance performance to, " Follow the Leader" by the Soca Boys. The 2019 Unique People Services Individual of the Year, Geetha Rathnamala entertained the crowd with a soul-stirring solo guitar performance. Additionally, performances were given by, singer and songwriter Bes and American Idol top 20 finalist Bumbly and the creator of Hip-Hop style rapping-- DJ Hollywood, best known for the creation of the party term," throw ya hands in the air and wave 'em like you just don't care." At the end of the evening, Hip-Hop Icon Kurtis Blow brought guests to their feet with a performance of his classic song "The Breaks"!
Adam Weiss and his professional dancer walked away as the People's Choice Champion for his hip-hop dance freestyle performance to Salt and Pepa's "Push It! The first Dancing with the UPS Stars Mirror Ball Champion was awarded to, Sulma Arzu-Brown and her professional dancer instructor Arnol Guity Martinez! They brought the crowd to their feet with their electrifying traditional Garifuna performance, which paid homage to the culture.
It was an amazing evening and we are thankful for all the support. On behalf of the UPS Board of Directors, staff and participants, we are truly grateful for the unwavering commitment to UPS and the betterment of those we serve. With the success of the event and all of the generous contributions, we can continue serve those that need it the most!