The DEA Youth Dance Program is a highly successful after-school dance program run by dancers and staff from Breaking Ground Dance Center located in Pleasantville, NY. The after-school program provides an opportunity to positively influence thousands of students in the U.S. The Program was created in 2014 with the goal to build self-esteem, teamwork and resisting negative peer pressure. The motivation behind the Breaking Ground dancers participation in this program is to share their passion and talents, and to hopefully build a positive alternative to drugs and gang violence that these children may be exposed to.
Thousands of dollars had to be raised in order to incorporate this program into a school that could benefit from this opportunity. The dancers organized several fundraisers to get the program approved by the DEA. The benefit of raising money is to provide the program to students at no cost. At the end of the 12-week after-school program, students can apply for a dance scholarship and one student will be awarded a scholarship to a local dance studio.
Once the dancers were given approval for the program, they had to select an elementary school that would benefit from such a program. The Graham Elementary school in Mt. Vernon, NY was chosen as the lucky school to partake in this program. Each week a committed professional dance teacher and two Breaking Ground dance students assist on a rotating schedule and provide an hour long class for 18 fifth graders. The students learn how to properly warm up their bodies in order to prevent injury, then practice a dance routine that they will showcase in their recital at the end of the 12-week program. Unanimously, the students say their favorite time in the hour is when they get to play “freeze dance” at the end of class.
The dancers from Breaking Ground are 100% committed to this program and most importantly being responsible role models to these impressionable children. It’s extremely rewarding to the Breaking Ground dancers to volunteer in the participation of such an established and proven program to help children in these schools who are not provided an opportunity to be exposed to the art of dance.
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