Day 105: Empowering Kids

After yesterday’s post about education and creativity a la Sir Ken Robinson, my mom clued me into this really cool program that provides free weekly dance classes to kids.

Everybody Dance Now! was founded by by 14-year-old Jackie Rotman in 2005, in an effort to bring dance to kids who couldn’t afford expensive studio classes in Santa Barbara, California.

Seven years later, she has expanded Everybody Dance Now! into eleven cities across the county. In each city, the program is directed by local high school and college students. They mobilize teachers, connect with schools and organizations, and bring empowering and fun dance classes to students who may not otherwise have access to dance instruction.

I love this program. Aside from the incredible educational and brain-health benefits of dance (see Ken Robinson’s 2006 TED Talk), teaching kids to dance helps them develop confidence, self esteem, respect for their bodies, and appreciation for all of the different cultures of people who inhabit this planet.

And the program is run by youth. Amazing.

Chicago Public Media station WBEZ interviewed the young Chicago coordinators yesterday. You can listen to it below (to get straight to the interview, you may want to start about one minute in).