Having the freedom to explore untapped talents and create artistic expression is the goal of two partnerships members at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County are pursuing at the Brady Center and Teen Club in Elkhart.
Epic Dance Studio and The Music Village of South Bend offer dance and music programs each week for a variety of ages.
“These programs foster a learning environment that empowers our Club youth and teens. Through the weekly sessions, we see members develop a sense of commitment and good character. They become advocates and leaders of each program,” said Elkhart Area Director Whitney Miller.
Staff at the Club said offering outlets for artistic expression is essential to help members discover what they can do.
For the music programs, the focus this fall is on piano, drums, guitar and beats. They will work with kids in the spring to take these skills and create music together.
Miller said the members are becoming more self-confident when they discover new talents.
Epic Dance works with a variety of ages. Two Club members who have been attending the dance programs at Club have received scholarships to attend additional classes at the dance studio. One of the teens is also helping with programs involving young Club members.
The Epic Dance programs have been expanded to offer programs for the youngest Club members and something more advanced for teens.
Club staff said both entities have been willing to grow the programs to expand opportunities to members. The members who are taking part say they appreciate the opportunities they’re being offered.
“I couldn’t do this without Club. Piano lessons can cost a lot of money so being able to do it for free really helps people out,” said 16-yaer-old Makiyah, who is in her second year of piano lessons.
“The coolest part is when you learn to play without notes or anything,” said 11-year-old Darailyn.
“It was something new I really wanted to try. The best part is you can play anything anytime you want,” said 10-year-old Ellana.
Miller said she is grateful for the partnerships with Epic Dance and The Music Village.
“We are blessed to provide a platform for our Club youth and teens to discover and express themselves through their interests in dance and music.”