Photo of Melanie Buttarazzi by Paul Gregory
Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:
Melanie’s mission, “To change the face of art in education. Art is the number 1 thing that gets cut in the school system without the realization that this forum gives kids a chance to be creative and this enables them to process and channel emotions surfacing from the hardship in their lives; it keeps them out of trouble. I think dance should be a requirement in all schools, even a basic level to gift children a path to explore new ways of expression.”
She talked about her program, “Kids are selected in the LA area currently; we’re working with organizations that have foster youths and at-risk teens. We’re going into the organizations and we are asking who is interested in dance, then we interview and select individuals in need of our help; some with and some without dance experience. We’re teaching important life and teamwork skills. We have a lot of fun while we engage them in hard work.
I’m also involved in The Teen Project and they have a new facility called FreeHab, it’s a center for run away youth involved in drugs and alcohol. It’s a 1-year program to help them turn their life around. Participants, females ages 18-25, are benefiting from the experience in such a short time; from May 2014 to present. These young women have shared their testimonies on camera discussing how they look forward to dance, and how this has brightened their perspective, and how it has helped them as a support to overcome relapse. These girls who participate and look forward to dance class teach new members that join. They get together at the facility and work on their dancing as well as teaching the new girls who join the dance class on their own time; a few new entries came in recently, and, in the sidelines, they taught these girls the whole piece; a routine they’ve been working on since May.”
It is Melanie’s goal to grow her program, Fostering Dreams Through Dance, and offer continued support.
“During our first program, completed July, 2014, we had 15 teens who participated and performed at their graduation in August. We would like to be able to offer additional help (like scholarships) to those who move through the dance program. While currently, I continue to welcome them to come back, I am hopeful, with the support of our communities, to be able to do more for these graduates.”
If you know of any organizations that will participate in Melanie’s program by helping with funding in order to provide extra classes, scholarships and other benefits, please pass the article forward so they can get in touch with Melanie through the website.
Melanie’s closing words, “I want to create more awareness; I want to use dance as a vehicle to help at risk youth find his or her voice and courage to embrace a healthier life through the expression of dance!”