Goodwill Manasota Provides Free Room for Dance Program

The Giving Coast

Taking part in a recent dance class at Goodwill’s Honore community room were (from l-r) Zuri Colaile-Romero, Peyton Jennings, instructor Sara Glass, Amayah Theodore and Eyva Theodore Courtesy photo/Goodwill Manasota

Local community member Deanna Williams had enough on her plate. Her husband – who recently passed away – was under hospice care, and she, her daughter and 6-year-old granddaughter have disabilities. In the midst of her own struggles, she found the time to organize and is contributing her own money to support weekly dance classes for children, ages 6-12, who have disabilities. Williams’ granddaughter loves to dance and has developed some skills but Williams can’t afford to send her to any established local programs. She decided to try and offer free classes for children like her granddaughter. Williams engaged a volunteer instructor who is currently teaching ballet and ballroom dance. While she has been happy to cover most of the costs related to the class – including clothing, toys and dance items such as a balance beam and barre (both of which she found at area Goodwill stores) – she wasn’t confident she could take on room rentals as well. So she reached out to Margie Genter, vice president of mission services at Goodwill, with a heartfelt request for assistance. “I just want children to feel the healing power of the arts and give those who are suffering a chance,” Williams wrote. “The dance class will encourage them to have fellowship and enjoy moving their bodies

Genter worked with Williams to determine which day and time, and location, might work best for current and future participants. The first offering was on October 27, 2021. Currently, there are several children enjoying dance classes at Goodwill’s Honore location on Wednesday afternoons but more would be welcomed. “For more than two decades, Goodwill Manasota has been pleased to provide free community meeting places, to meet the needs of specific areas and the residents who live there,” said Genter. “As an employer of and advocate for individuals with disabilities, we know they don’t always have the same access to recreational activities like this one. We hope this program will grow and thrive as more community members learn about it!”

Taking part in a recent dance class at Goodwill’s Honore community room were (from l-r) Zuri Colaile-Romero, Peyton Jennings, instructor Sara Glass, Amayah Theodore and Eyva Theodore Courtesy photo/Goodwill Manasota

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