There are many ways to volunteer, but not many people get to do it by dancing. Although she had never formally danced before, Dr. Laura Bokar didn’t hesitate when she was asked to take part in the Community Careers Center’s Dancing with the Celebrities fundraiser recently. “I wanted to do it to raise money for the center,” said Laura, CEO of Fox Valley Institute, a counseling practice in Naperville.
“We have hired two members of staff through them and I wanted to give back.” Laura helped raise $80,000 for the Community Career Center this year by competing against other local celebrities at Meson Sabika. Each contestant is given 10 free dance lessons, but Laura went the extra mile by buying 10 more.
“I chose to dance the salsa with my partner Nicholas from My Dance Hub,” she said. “He was great and kept telling me ‘Laura, I’ve got you’ whenever I got nervous. The most difficult part for me was to try not to lead!
”The couple were put through their paces in front of an audience at the dance studio so they could prepare for the big event. “I enjoyed it so much I’m still having lessons,” Laura said. Although she didn’t win the coveted mirror ball trophy, she did win the award for best stage presence.
Laura has always given back to local organizations. She’s on the board of KidsMatter, part of a think tank at Linden Oaks Hospital and works with School District 203’s Social and Emotion Learning program. For the past year, she has been on the board of Loaves and Fishes Community Services.
“The Naperville community has built my practice and I want to give back,” she said. “Everyone is a potential client. We get referrals from schools and businesses. At Fox Valley Institute we take care of our clients first, but I always like to be able to give back, too.”
At Loaves and Fishes, Laura is on the advancement committee, which is responsible for spreading the word about all the new services offered since the integration with Naperville Cares. “I’ve always donated to them, but then I was invited to join the board when a vacancy came up,” she explained. “They’re such an important part of the community I agreed.”
Photo and content courtesy of “The Eagle Eye”