Social Impact Recipient 2015–17
Project and Impact Description: I brought service to communities in Maine that lack dance and arts resources and taught local students a three-week bootcamp. During the bootcamp, I taught them basic dance techniques and also choreographic methods, encouraging students to express their individuality through the arts of dance and choreography. By the end of the bootcamp, students thrived and made a one-hour show on their own, presented to the local community. The impact I brought to the community is a moment of pride among everyone—the students, their parents, and the audience. Most importantly, the students gained confidence, awareness for the arts, and the realization of who they are in the end.
What is most memorable about this service experience? The most memorable moment of this experience is at the end of the students’ final performance, everyone in the audience joined the students on the dance floor. Even through most of them don’t dance, they tried to move their bodies with the music and the beat. Everyone smiled. At that moment, I realized that I brought happiness and positivity to this town. Not only were the students inspired by performance arts, the community was inspired as well. One of the parents wrote me that “I have never seen my kid smile so happily and genuinely in her whole life, and I am so grateful that you brought that light to her face.” Since then, I knew that I wanted to continue this journey and continue bringing this light to more kids around through the education inthe arts.
What did you learn from this service experience? Even though I was supposedly the “instructor” during that bootcamp, a lot of the time I felt like the students were my teachers. They taught me new ways of thinking and having fun, and new perspectives on life. A lot of the time, they inspired me much more than I expected. So what I learned was that, throughout my life, anyone can be my teacher and anyone can bring a tint of new light to my life.
Advice for students interested in applying for a Social Impact Grant... Be open minded! Sometimes your journey might not exactly line up with what you have planned, but just know that this is part of the experience and you might find new enlightenments throughout the way!