How it all began...
It came out of nowhere...
I woke up one morning in August of 2013, and something inside me felt different. I sat at the edge of my bed in my Betty Boop pajamas and thought to myself, “I have to do something to give back to kids.” Dance is what I know it’s what I do, so in that moment I thought “I can bring dance to those who wouldn’t otherwise have the access of opportunity to take a dance class.”
This came to me out of left field and I wouldn’t have seen it coming if it came to me in neon lights. My life was in its place. I was dancing full time, auditioning and working on set and on stage. But that morning I felt different. Something inside me changed, something shifted and I’ve never been the same since.
A few weeks after this idea came to me I enrolled in a leadership program and by chance, that evening I met a former foster youth who gave me insight on his life while he was in foster care. After our conversation he said to me, "I don't really know you, but I know you have to do this dance program, these kids need it and they need you."
I was speechless but I knew in my heart I had to do something.
Shortly after, I began to put a small team together, I started creating the dance program and began to run with it.
I reached out to an organization called First Star, where I began my first partnership bringing dance to their youth for their summer academy at UCLA in 2014.
From then on I went to partner with various organizations bringing Fostering Dreams Project to their facilities, teaching dance to foster youth, at-risk youth, homeless youth and youth in recovery from addiction.
In 2018 Fostering Dreams Project brought the first ever foster youth dance program into the Palmdale School District and San Fernando Valley School District, where we've worked with a total of 7 schools.
Throughout this journey, I've seen how dance can transform one's life, and although I knew it would have an impact I didn't know how far it would go. I've had girls tell me that dance is what helped them in recovery to get sober. There's one girl that I keep in contact with who credits Fostering Dreams and the dance program to her sobriety since I worked with her 5 years ago. Others have told me dance gave them confidence to believe in themselves when they had no hope of a better life and they're now going to college to pursue their dreams.
Students in the Palmdale district have shown improvements in their grades and behavior as well as making new friends they wouldn't have met outside of the dance program.
There's a sense of unity and community that is built through dance, and for these youth, they're finding that they're not alone and are starting to find trust within themselves and with one another in dance class.
Almost all of the youth I've worked with have no dance experience and it challenges them to not give up on themselves or each other, and they all succeed on overcoming this challenge.
At Fostering Dreams Project we help our youth see that they matter and with guidance, love and support they can achieve anything they put their mind to.