LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Margi Dawson loves movies and is an avid bird watcher.
In fact, Dawson, the director of development at Turning Points in Bradenton, is the associate producer of "Read Me," a movie about a man with dyslexia who never learned to read but can "read" people.
Dawson is also one of 11 professional women from Manatee and Sarasota between the ages of 26 and 35 all with fascinating jobs, interests and hobbies who are part of a new Lakewood Ranch group called Cheers for Charity.
Group members recently came up with the idea of raising money for charity by being guest bartenders.
The 11 will be on duty from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Polo Grill and Bar on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch and will dispense witty conversation, free advice and keen insights in exchange for tips and donations which will go to local charities, Dawson said.
An open photo booth by Peter Acker Photography, a DJ and a raffle prize will be part of the festivities, Dawson said.
Besides Dawson, the 10 other experts available for chatting Thursday include:
Amanda Smith, a real estate attorney at Blalock Walters, P.A.
Janel Shinn, a registered nurse at Blake Medical Center and educator at The School District of Manatee County
Jill Gass, executive director for We Care Manatee
Alexis Georgiou, physician assistant at Schofield, Hand & Bright Orthopedic Surgeons
Ann Breitinger, corporate and health care attorney at Blalock Walters
Nadine Baez, director of programs at IVIR Inc.
Christy Cardillo, CPA at Shinn and Co.
Erin VanderVeen, manager International Business Development at It Works!
Ashley Krumreich, CRNA at Sarasota Anesthesiologists, P.A.
Erin Boihem, registered nurse at Blake Medical Center.
Smith, who is a co-founder of Cheers, laughed when asked if any of the 11 actually know how to mix drinks. She knew of at least one who did not.
"I have never tended bar," Smith said. "I think it's everyone's fantasy to try it. It's like being in the movies. But I think they'll have their regular bartenders standing by. We will probably be pouring beers and wines."
The group formed a short time ago when four or five of the women, who knew each other socially, were challenged at a Lakewood Ranch Community Fund meeting to form their own circle, Dawson said.
"We are hoping for a crowd of about 100 on Thursday and we hope to raise $500," Smith said. "If we do, the Manatee Community Fund will match it."
Although they haven't picked a charity yet, Cheers will devote its efforts to women and children, health care and the homeless, Smith said.
For information on the event or to join Cheers: 941-400-0874 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Cheers for Charity can also be reached at CheersForCharityGivingCircle@gmail.com.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@RichardDymond