When I was 5 years old, I dreamed of being a ballerina. The vision of spinning around on the tips of my toes wearing a princess tutu was one that warmed my heart, and honestly, still does today. Dancing in general has always been a passion of mine. I have been walking on my toes and swaying to the beat of the music…any music, since before I could talk! I know firsthand the impact dance and movement can have on a child so when I got the opportunity to volunteer at the NWA Children’s Shelter teaching dance and exercise, how could I pass it up?!
I was honored to have been given the opportunity to volunteer teach a variety of different classes to the different age groups at the shelter and let me tell ya, those kids have energy that I had forgotten existed! We had so much fun learning to walk like princesses to the sounds of Queen Elsa singing ‘Let it Go’ but not before developing out talents in turns and leaps with Sebastian ‘Under the Sea’…and that was just one class!
I worked my way through college at a fitness center teaching a variety of group fitness classes ranging from Zumba to Spin, Total Body Toning to Cardio Sculpt and sometimes all in one day! Those years of training weren’t anything compared to the Sports Conditioning class that the boys and I did that day! Those young men have so much zest for life and are so strong in more ways than I can imagine. We spent a super fun (and tiring) 30 minutes honing our athletic skills. We worked on getting strong like football players and fast like soccer players. Between all of the pushups, sit ups and suicide drills it was an intense and AWESOME 30 minutes.
I was privileged to spend a little more quality time with some of the older children. We had a blast doing Zumba and learning short dances. I got to spend a little time getting to know the girls and talking to them about dance and cheer. It was so rewarding to see the lightbulb go off or a smile beam a cross a face when they began to understand the moves. It suddenly went from “just another extracurricular” to “fun”! We ended our fun hour by having a dance party to everyone’s favorite “Shake It Off”.
I ended my day crawling around like lions and skipping to the sounds of “Frozen” with the youngest group of kids at the shelter. A lot of people have doubts that children under a certain age can really benefit from dance and movement, but after seeing those kids prance around making elephant noises and jumping up and down like frogs, I know that is not true. Volunteering at the NWA Children’s Shelter was so much more than just a 3 hour shift on a Sunday. For me it was about sharing my talent and allowing these amazing kids to explore through movement. Every child has a talent, it is up to us as a community with abundant resources to make sure that every child knows that they are talented and that EVERY child feels special. I went to the children’s shelter thinking that I would inspire a child, not thinking about how much they would inspire me. I cannot WAIT to continue my journey volunteering at the NWA Children’s Shelter and making a difference!