On October 23, 2015, Teri Thomas Schneider lost her mother, Pauline to Lewy Body Dementia. Today, she channels her love for her mom and their shared passion for dancing through her volunteer work as one of our association’s most dynamic volunteers and incoming chair for “Dancing Stars of Atlanta.”
An AP science teacher at Denmark High School in Forsyth County, Ms. Schneider’s commitment to the Alzheimer’s Association began when she joined on as a “Dancing Star,” herself in 2017. (She also happened to go home with the top prize that year.)
Her own personal experience with an Alzheimer’s related disease started in the fall of 2012 when her mother’s phone calls from Ohio began to dwindle. After sending her mom a gift and not hearing from her on Mother’s Day, she got a call from her dad telling her that he’d taken her to the hospital. According to her dad, her mom was waking up at 3 a.m. in the morning because she was concerned that her doctor was trying to steal their family’s business.
Fast forward to 2016, one year after her mother’s passing. She was invited to watch her friend, Dr. Kristina Price perform in “Dancing Stars of Atlanta,” the annual fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Having taken tap dance lessons thanks to her mom’s encouragement from the age of three to 21, Teri knew she had to honor her mother’s legacy and be a “Dancing Star” the following year. “I need to do this for my mom and hopefully, I’ll be able to raise some money for this,” said Schneider, a former high school and college cheerleader and Miss Ohio and Miss Indiana finalist.
Raise some money she did! A teacher and competition cheer coach at Peachtree Ridge High School at the time, Schneider never expected to bring in $59,000. But the many small donations from students, fellow teachers and administrators poured in. A local realtor donated spots at her table which were filled by the senior girls on the competition cheer team, the head coach and his wife who came to support and see “Coach Teri” perform.
That show long past, Schneider continues to support our organization through her infectious energy and enthusiasm. She recently represented the chapter at the 2020 Alzheimer’s Association Leadership Summit in Orlando. “It was such an honor and incredible learning experience to attend this event,” said Schneider. “My eyes were opened to the many lives touched by this terrible disease and all the good work the association is doing to support those diagnosed as well as their caregivers.”
A proven successful fundraiser, she’s an enormous asset to the Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter. We’re incredibly appreciative to have her volunteer as co-chair for “Dancing Stars of Atlanta” when she’s not teaching AP environmental science at Denmark High School and serving as a commissioner for the Georgia PSC. (The organization works with Georgia educator preparation, certification and ethics).
“I fall more in love with the mission, passion, and compassion of the Alzheimer’s Association every day,” says Schneider. Her commitment resonates with that of the executive director of the Georgia chapter and the whole team who are supportive and relentless in their quest to educate, serve and look for a cure. “I know that my mom who supported me to achieve all of my dreams and put me into dance at a young age, is dancing in heaven with pride not only at my accomplishments through Dancing Stars, but with everything the Alzheimer’s Association does for those affected by all dementia.”
To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter visit alz.org/georgia.