If you grew up in the inner city you are more than a little aware of the lack of access to good community arts programs. More importantly, you probably understand the importance of theses programs a lot more if you needed them and never had access to them.
Much like team sports, arts programs are important parts of healthy development for kids. Kids and teens who have access to arts education programs have lower drop out rates, score better on standardized tests, and have higher grade point averages. Add to that the fact that in many areas these programs are the one of the best ways to keep kids occupied and off the streets and it just makes sense for us to invest in these programs.
Unfortunately, even with all the data that points to why these programs are extremely beneficial and necessary, they are still severely underfunded and understaffed. Simply put, very few people are willing to put their money where their mouth is.
However, there are some people who are doing just that and Cheryl Bellamy is one of these people. Ms. Bellamy is the owner of a dance studio in Durham, North Carolina and as this short documentary points out she’s doing everything she can to show that dance and her studio is more than just something fun to do. Dance, and arts in general, have the ability to be both empowering and uplifting.
Even though her dance studio and the teams she teaches eventually compete in dance competitions Cheryl is quick to point out that dancing is more than just moving to music and the competition is not the reason for dancing. Instead she likes to point out to the kids in her group that sometimes it really is about the journey and not the destination.
Give the video a watch and support your local community based arts programs, it’s better than paying to house people in prison.