We already know we have a lot to be thankful for in the world of dance, so why not share that joy with others? Getting swept up into the holiday season is magical and wonderful, but it's also important to slow down and remember the true meaning of this time of year.
When we teach young students to dance, we instill in them a whole set of skills that will help them grow and become successful in life. One trait that we like to focus on during the winter holidays in our dance studio is compassion. As our December Leap 'N Learn lesson plans take our dancers around the world, our students are already learning about others. And we recommend taking that one step further to thinking about how to help others. After all, it is the season of giving!
The love and joy are already easy to find in a dance studio, so fostering a sense of sharing is the finishing touch needed to bring that holiday spirit to life which keeps everyone buzzing with cheer.
Here are some ways your dance studio can give back around the holidays:
- Help End Hunger — Dance students know the importance of eating well to keep their bodies full of energy, so let them help others get the nourishment they need too. Host a food drive at your studio or plan a day when your older students can serve at a local soup kitchen. (Here's what we are doing this year at The Ballet Studio!)
- Light Up a Child's Face — Who better understands the way to make a child happy than someone their own age? Collect Toys for Tots gifts, sponsor an Angel Tree, or invite students to make festive decorations that you can donate to a local children's hospital.
- Spread Cheer to the Elderly or Disabled — Children can be the key to making anyone smile! Add a twist to the traditional caroling by choreographing a dance to go along with Christmas music, and then plan a performance at a local assisted living or senior center.
- Tell Someone Thanks — Sometimes the best gift is expressed through words. Have your dancers write holiday cards to send to people they appreciate for making a difference in the world — think teachers, local nonprofits, military members, etc. Also, Holiday Mail for Heros goes social this year, so how neat would it be to share a holiday dance video from your students to troops everywhere?
- Keep Things Merry and Warm — Coats, gloves, and scarves are in high demand this time of year, and we all know children outgrow their winter wear before they are worn out. Have your students donate new or gently used warm clothing. Be sure to find a local organization accepting items and collect what they specifically need.
- Keep the Giving Going — Simply talking about ways to give back and getting people thinking about what they can do to make the holidays bright for others is a push in the right direction. Encourage your dance students and their families to create their own holiday traditions that center around the true meaning of the season. Here is a great kid-friendly resource for service projects + information for parents!
If you'd like more ideas on how to get started, tap into the creativity of your dance students. Simply ask them how they'd like to give back to their community. Brainstorm things in which they are interested, match them to related causes, and determine the method of helping. We like to think of it as a simple equation:
Cause + Method = Project
Here are some examples:
- Saving the Environment + Taking Action = Starting a Recycling Program
- Helping Animals + Volunteering = Spending Time at a Local Pet Shelter
- Providing Disaster Relief + Fundraiser = Hosting a Bake Sale with Profits Going to UNICEF for Children in the Philippines
With this time of year being extra busy, it can be hard to imagine adding one more thing to your plate, but simply setting the example and creating the opportunity for dance students to show their goodwill is all it takes. We have found that our little dancers are naturally benevolent and are excited to take it from there! Plus, it just fills our heart with happiness to see dance students making a positive impact on the world around them. Seeing them genuinely more excited to help others than to fill in more presents on their own wish lists reminds us what really matters most!
How does your dance studio give back during the holidays? What do you find best teaches your dance students about compassion and charity? We know you are full of excellent ideas, and we look forward to sharing stories of the season together.