Help Homeless Children Dance

I love many people in this world. But, I have a special adoration for this one boy from college. You see, he was my dance partner that year I performed in Rollins Dance. His name is Dario and his soul has always spoken to mine. We grew older and he, beautiful and true, heeded his calling. He is the artistic director at Center for Contemporary Dance. I love all things about Dario but it is his spirit that I honor most. So when I got this email today, I felt like I had to tell you all about it:

We need your help.  One of our outreach programs has cultivated a new population of young students at The Center for Contemporary Dance.  Fifteen children between the ages of 5 and 13, living full-time in homeless shelters, are now being fully supported to study with us. 
They're amazing kids, who were personally invited by our artistic director to continue their studies with us beyond the outreach program, at no cost.  They earned that privilege based on their natural talents and commitment to the outreach program.
We would like very much for these kids to participate in our December 6 winter concert, MAKULU:  A Contemporary African Ballet, but we need immediate help to cover their costume costs, which average $100 per child.  That's a total of $1,500 that we need by November 20, so we can order their costumes in time for the show.
If you can help sponsor a child, please contact us today at (407) 695-8366 to make a tax-deductible donation.
Or mail gifts to:
The Center for Contemporary Dance
ATTN:  Scholarship Fund
3580 Aloma Avenue #7
Winter Park, FL  32792
We believe every child should have the opportunity to dance, and know you feel the same.  
Please spread the word by sharing this email with your contact list.  If we exceed the goal, all monies will be placed into a scholarship fund, specifically reserved for displaced and homeless children.
Thank you for your continuing support of The Center for Contemporary Dance!
I am thankful that he is feeding these young souls with so much of what they need during a difficult time. And so I am sharing this here in the hopes that we can help them out, together.
What do you say? Every little bit helps!
You can also donate via PayPal.
"When you dance, you can enjoy the luxury of being you."


Teacher Thursday: Ms. Villanueva

In my quest to highlight a teacher, I wanted to share this one. Ms. Villanueva was my 2nd grade teacher in the NYC public school I attended. She was an artist. And, she loved me. How do I know? I'm sure she told me. I remember being giddy about going to class and I remember her hugs. Ms. Villanueva introduced me to storytelling. To books. To performing. She is the one that fought for me to get into the track of classes that led me to experience Harlem School of the Arts and that eventually won me a scholarship for dance there. I am not going to lie, I'm sure I was the teacher's pet. But I didn't care.

She opened up the world to me by casting me in roles that she'd take from books. I still remember that I was the keeper of the rainbow once. I don't recall the name of the book but, I've searched high and low for it to no avail. There was nothing I could not do as far as Ms. Villanueva was concerned. My confidence level was so high after crossing paths with her. I have nothing but good feelings from my year with her.

I don't remember anything curriculum related, though! But, she taught me to dream. She taught me the joy of dancing on stage. My most proud moment that year was when, during the performance where I was the keeper of the rainbow, she, dressed as mother nature danced on stage with me. I will never forget that. I believe I might have a picture somewhere and will update this post with it if I find it.

I don't know where she's at. I don't remember her first name. But if I were to run into her today I would hug her and say thank you! For teaching me about creativity. For letting my imagination run wild. For seeing something inside of me and fighting to make sure it was nurtured. For loving her job and her students. For teaching me so much that wasn't in the curriculum that year and introducing me to my first love: dance.

Do you remember your 2nd grade teacher?