My Saturday mornings, over the past couple of years, haven't started like most people's and for that, I am truly blessed. My aunt, Jennifer Allender, started a dance class for individuals with special needs around 12 years ago. This class is held every Saturday morning. I decided to start going and helping out with the class when I was younger and I am so glad that I did. Here's the backstory of why my aunt was inspired to start something so amazing. She said, "when I was a junior in high school competing at a gymnastics meet for Midstate Gymnastics, a group of girls came out to perform for everyone — a floor exercise routine. They were wearing their teams signature leotard and the brightest smiles. These little gymnasts were all girls who had Down's Syndrome."
She knew she wanted to become a special education teacher after that. While working as a special ed teacher she realized she wanted to give her students more activities outside of school. Thus began the outstanding dance class that she said would "give children and individuals of all abilities the chance to dance, a moment to call their own through performance opportunities and most of all, a love for the art of dance."
Yeah, I know, she rocks!
It has been so amazing to have the opportunity to watch the kiddos in the studio grow throughout the years and not just in their dancing abilities. I get to witness them overcome their difficulties and blossom in every aspect of their lives. Seeing their beautiful personalities is incredible and it makes me so happy to get the opportunity to help them. Because of them, I have gotten to spend my Saturdays with a humongous smile on my face.
I thought I would be teaching these kids but little did I know they would be teaching me.
These kids have taught me determination, to stick with something until you get it (even if it's hard).
They have taught me to not take life so seriously, to just have fun with it.
They have taught me compassion, how to love everyone you meet.
They have taught me patience, that everything takes time.
These dancers are my heroes and I am so glad I have them in my life.
They never fail to amuse me or teach me or make me giggle.
They are the reason I am the way I am today.
Getting to grow up helping in these classes has been a life-changing experience. I am beyond grateful to have these dancers in my life and I cherish every moment I get to spend dancing with them. It hurts my heart that I am away from them on Saturdays, now that I am in college. We can't always pick the music life plays for us, but we can choose how we dance to it and who we dance with.
P.S. Don't worry besties I'll be back for your BIG show!