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Veils, fire, golden wings, oh my! A new flavor to non-profit fundraising.


Event raised well over $15,000 for Caring for Children.

Asheville non-profit organizations are using creative fundraising techniques during this era's transition to a new economy, and what better way to be creative than to hire dance instructor and performer Lisa Zahiya to choreograph the entertainment.

On Valentines 2011 weekend, Caring for Children gave its supporters a taste of the exotic at the Crowne Plaza for a fundraising gala. Bollywood and belly dance performers skipped and shimmied on top a stage before a heart-shaped backdrop and a lit-up border of the words "Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love." Veils, fire, golden wings, colorful costumes and energizing music entranced audience members, who wore their own bhindis, turbans and saris to participate in the gala's theme.

Caring for Children has provided shelter for 30 years for abused, abandoned, and neglected children in homes staffed by nurturing professionals who are trained to deal with the special needs of children in crisis. They help children and families deal with the present, put the past behind them, and look to the future.

"It is my mission to use dance to create positive change in the world," Zahiya said. "To be able to support an organization like Caring for Children, whose work creates immediate positive change for children here in Buncombe County, was a wonderful opportunity."

Zahiya also teaches dance to children in low-income or other challenged situations as well as to women in correctional institutes. She regularly performs for LEAF in Schools in Streets and recently formed a professional dance troupe, "The Ohm Girls," which will choreograph pieces with positive messages for the community.

Lauri Nichols, owner of Asheville Event Planning and Staffing, LLC, hired Zahiya for the Caring for Children gala to direct and choreograph 45 minutes of dance, which included two group performances by Bala! Bollywood and Bhangra.

"It was a pleasure working with Lisa from beginning to end," Nichols said. "She was professional and dedicated in making this event a huge success. Her troupe worked tirelessly on creative routines and with the other performers to come up with a truly amazing performance. I am impressed by all the positive feedback we have received from this event." The event raised well over $15,000 for the organization. Final numbers have not yet been calculated.

To learn how to book Lisa Zahiya to direct entertainment for events that benefit social causes and communities, click here