Jennifer Adams & Chris Harmon

Representing:    RISE

Choreographer:   Chris Harmon
Dance style:   East Coast Swing/Charleston

VOTE for Jennifer

Jennifer Adams RISEs to the Occasion!
Article by Grenda Ernst

Commenting on her dance experience, Jennifer Adams says "I took ballet lessons for a short time when I was 8 years old but you would never suspect it! Since then, none!" She does admit to dancing in her living room during family parties and this spring she will have the opportunity to expand her audience to a cast of hundreds when she represents RISE as its Community Star at the 9th annual Dancing With Our Stars. This outgoing, likable woman will have no trouble making that transition. She notes that she is both honored and scared to be a Community Star but her dance partner and instructor, Chris Harmon is amazing and makes the process so much fun.

Jennifer is the Executive Director of RISE SLO County - Respect, Inspire, Support, Empower – a non-profit which provides crisis intervention and treatment services to survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence and their loved ones. An Executive Director for 14 years, she has been in this field for over 20 years. Originally from Pennsylvania where she grew up on her family's dairy farm, she moved to California when she was 18, right out of high school. She has lived on the Central Coast for 18 years, which combines the best of both worlds for her: oceans and mountains. For leisure, she loves to hike, walk and read, and most importantly, spend time with her large, extended family, especially the grand babies. And she loves wine-tasting on our beautiful Central Coast.

Jennifer has been recognized many times for her contributions to the SLO community and her ability to make a difference in the lives of people needing assistance: Woman of the Year for 35th Assembly District of California for 2014; Top 50 Women in Business, 2014; Influential Woman of SLO County, 2013; Woman of Distinction Award, Progress for Women, 2007.

She comments that she decided to be a Community Star because "It's a wonderful way to provide additional funding for RISE. There are more people in need than we have services to provide, so we are constantly looking for ways to increase funding in order to expand our programs." And she has a more personal reason for her decision: "As both a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and then sexual assault as an adult, this is a very healing process for me. As a survivor, I have always struggled with issues of self-confidence, perfectionism, and depression. And I was never an athlete, so learning to dance is something entirely out of my comfort zone; especially coupled with performing in public. Participating in this year's DWOS is a way to honor my own healing, as well as celebrate the thousands of survivors in our community who display incredible courage just by walking through the doors of RISE to begin their own healing journey. I will be dancing for them."

Jennifer's partner, the talented dancer and choreographer Chris Harmon, has been dancing and teaching dance for years, and he rose to prominence in the DWOS community when he choreographed the dance for Rolfe Nelson, the 2014 Champion. He followed up in 2015 with a second Champion, Vicky Morse. He has been partnering Community Stars ever since and is also featured in Frank Sanchez' production numbers. When he is not dancing, Chris teaches high school economics in Santa Maria.