Joann Ferrara, a pediatric physical therapist from Bayside, was one day working with a patient who was wearing a tiara and a tutu. Ferrara said to the little girl that she looked like a dancer. “I wish I could be a dancer, but nobody wants me,” the patient responded. The statement inspired Ferrara to start a dance class. Please read the rest of the article here.
Sebastian Ortiz, 7, a first grader now making his Broadway debut in “A Christmas Carol,” scrunched up his face as he paused to think about what it means to be playing Tiny Tim onstage. “Always be brave,” he said. To read the full New York Times article click here.
The local nonprofit organization Dancing Dreams gives children with medical or physical challenges the opportunity to attend dance classes and perform. The organization aims to increase awareness and tolerance for those with physical challenges. To read the full article at JerEcho, click here.
The Women’s Sports Foundation recently announced the winners of their first ever essay contest, celebrating the launch of their new Discussion Guide: “Empowering Girls Through Books and Sports” designed to keep girls in the game! The essay question, “What inspires you to keep playing?” was answered by 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls from our 2018 Sports 4 Life community programs. Dancing Dreams Dancer, Leah, won second place. Her prize will be a special visit by a Women’s Sports Foundation Athlete Ambassador for a meet and greet, clinic and photo op. To view her essay, please click here.
Upon first learning about your child’s diagnosis of Spina Bifida, it is natural to become deeply concerned about the disability’s impact on your child’s quality of life and that of your entire family, so it is heartening to share good news after eleven years of parenting a child with Spina Bifida. Read the full article at Walk-N-Rolling With Spina Bifida here.
This guest post is by Sarah, mom to Ruby, age 11; they live in Brooklyn, NY. Ruby was born with a rare brain malformation on the right side of her brain, polymicrogyria, that has caused left-side hemiplegia, learning disabilities and sleep and seizure disorders. “While on paper the diagnosis sounds terrible, her loving and sweet spirit pushes her through so many challenges,” says Sarah. “Her love for animals, drawing Anime cartoons, fashion and her sense of humor make her shine.” Read the full article at Love That Max at https://www.lovethatmax.com/2018/08/dance-class-children-with-disabilities.html
Sixteen-year-old Abigail Penny loves to dance, but spina bifida — a disease that impairs mobility — prevents her legs from moving to the beat. Luckily, Dancing Dreams gives her the outlet she needs to pursue her passion. Penny, an 11th-grader at Mepham High School, has been with the Bayside dancing studio since the age of 4. Joann Ferrara, 62, of Jericho, created Dancing Dreams to give disabled girls like Penny the chance to dance without fear of judgment. Read the full article at L.I. Herald at http://liherald.com/stories/disabled-merrick-student-finds-freedom-in-dance,109913
Gripping and leaning over the barre, struggling to keep herself up in a room surrounded by dancers, Abigail Penny, 16, stood for more than a minute — the longest she’s stood since the fourth grade. “The fact that I was able to stand for that amount of time again was like a really special moment and it made me really, really happy,” said Penny, who has spina bifida, which affects her ability to walk, stand and speak. Read full article at Newsday at https://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/dancing-dreams-1.23701352
BAYSIDE, N.Y.–Cerebral palsy presents a wide array of challenges for those who have to contend with the illness. However, one young woman isn’t letting her physical limitations stop her from dancing and dreaming. Rayhana Elharji is an ambitious 17-year-old from Brooklyn, New York. The National Honor Society student aspires to be a bioengineer, and wants to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for her undergraduate studies. Read the full article at The Epoch Times at https://m.theepochtimes.com/cerebral-palsy-doesnt-stop-this-young-woman-from-dancing_2703557.html