Like a diva, Amy Schuldt rollerskated across the Plantation Golf & Country Club dance floor with her pink and black leg warmers and Olivia Newton John-style headband.

Schuldt joined North Port Divas chairwoman Andi Werdell and fellow Divas Debbie Snowden, Jamie Lovern, Karie Rawlings, Mimi Steger, Andrew Belliveau and Sheila Valentino on the dance floor. They were all dressed in retro 1980s outfits at the Divas’ annual masquerade ball.

In its ninth year, the recent ball raised hundreds for Habitat for Humanity South Sarasota County.

Rawlings’ husband John channeled Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley. John sponsored the signature ’80s drink of the evening.

“I’ve been wearing this makeup since 3 p.m.,” John said. “Someone from the high school theater group did my makeup. I have three layers of leather and Spandex on. I’m sweating like crazy, but I have to stay in character.”

The couple danced with Divas chairwoman, Andi Werdell, who “played” a blow up plastic guitar prop on her knees to a Prince solo.

Earlier in the evening, Andi introduced her husband Bill, who is the Habitat for Humanity South Sarasota County board president.

“There will be four new homes built in North Port this year,” Bill said after thanking the crowd for their donations and dedication to North Port, adding some in the room helped build Habitat homes. “Homes are not handouts.”

Bill said each recipient helps build their home through sweat equity. He said 144 homes were built in South County in the past 30 years with 70 of them in North Port. He introduced North Porter Amanda Mitchell, whose home was dedicated last June by new Habitat for Humanity CEO Shannon Hoyt.

“She (Shannon) and everyone at Habitat were amazing to me,” Mitchell said. “Without them, I would not have been able to give my 5-year-old a stable home.”

Mitchell said loved helping build her three-bedroom home and really appreciates those who helped her.

“One of the things I really loved was putting up drywall,” she said. “It was really fulfilling to see the walls go up. I love my house.”

Mitchell joined Hoyt and the Divas on the dance floor. A few feet over, Divas members and guests took hundreds of pictures in the makeshift photo booth.

For several years the Divas donated proceeds to Habitat for Humanity. Prior to that, they donated funds to the Gene Matthews North Port Boys & Girls Club.

Karie Rawlings is the chair for next year’s masquerade ball.

“We change our theme every year,” she said. “We really go all out for it. I am considering giving to the Boys & Girls Club next year. We are a great group. I feel very blessed to be a part of it each year.”

All year, the businesswomen collect silent auction prizes, alcohol for the spirit cart and jewelry for a raffle. The event was co-sponsored by the North Port Moose Lodge 764, Millennium Physicians Group, Habitat for Humanity, Kyle Kurtis Salon & spa, North Port Natural Florist, Prime Serious Steak, Toledo Blade Animal Clinic and Achieva Credit Union.

Guests were treated to a coffee and dessert bar sponsored by board member Blaze Castellano and his wife Kathy. Appetizers were by Dean McConville.

The Divas spent hours transforming the country club into an ’80s fun house with giant Rubik’s cubes, boomboxes, cassette tapes centerpieces in the bar and Devo shutter sunglasses. Guests had big ’80s hair, some men wore eyeliner, a few women were Madonna lookalikes, a Jessica Rabbit sighting, but there was only one Diva on roller skates.


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