Her Flagstar Dancing with the Stars costume cost $16 and everything she’s wearing came from local thrift shops. (You’ll understand why when you hear her song.) Jennifer Lucarelli, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, is excited to show off her sparkly camo and wild patterns during a high-energy dance at this year’s virtual event.
When she’s not on the dance floor, Jennifer teaches college students about community nutrition – something we at Lighthouse work hard to address every day.
“I have a passion for working to help people choose healthy diets (within their lifestyle and cultural norms), but also to reduce hunger and food insecurity in our community,” she says. “I’ve been working in the Pontiac community for more than 10 years through the Healthy Pontiac, We Can! coalition, Sheriff PAL, and many other noteworthy individuals and organizations doing great work.”
Jennifer learned about Lighthouse through our team member James McQueen. Over the years they’ve built a trust and friendship and worked together to coordinate food drives on Oakland University’s campus. Fast-forward to the COVID-19 pandemic and the relationship they’d already established enabled us to move quickly and be a leader in serving the community in ways that meet their needs (e.g., with at home no-contact delivery of food and supplies to keep everyone safe).
“The fact that Lighthouse leadership was able to take a leap of faith at the beginning of the pandemic and completely transform their emergency food system into one of the best I’ve seen nationwide is quite astounding,” she says.
When we invited Jennifer to participate in Dancing with the Stars, no one at Lighthouse knew she did swing and ballroom dance for many years in college. She’s been in a few informal dance competitions before, but nothing like this.
“It’s been really nice to get back on the dance floor after a 10+ year break,” she says. “I’m a bit rusty, but I’m appreciating the opportunity to work with a really talented and fun professional to create a performance that will hopefully make everyone smile.”
You can catch Jennifer’s performance during this year’s Flagstar’s Dancing with the Stars virtual event Saturday, November 20.