Aug 18, 2021

Dancing into Fall with the Youth Dance Program!

Getting Silly with students in Washington, DC
Getting Silly with students in Washington, DC

The DEA Educational Foundation was thrilled to keep students dancing this summer through various summer workshops and camps! Thanks to great summer weather and some state and local openings, as well as due to the diligence of staff and instructors, the DEAEF was able to host some in-person programs for the first time in 15 months. And, whether dance programs were in-person, virtual or hybrid, our instructors brought their best, modeling positive and healthy choices like committing to activities like dance. Due to the success of the Youth Dance Program, the DEA Educational Foundation has launched other youth programs in the past couple of years such as art, baseball, martial arts, soccer and basketball. 

 

Also this year, the DEAEF is honored to have been selected to work with the DEA through their latest endeavor Operation Engage. Operation Engage is a “comprehensive approach that will target the top drug threat identified by the local DEA division while continuing to focus on drug trafficking, violence, and crime reduction.” As a community partner, we are offering dance, baseball, soccer, basketball, martial arts and more to support students and their families with quality afterschool programming. Following state and local guidelines, we will continue reaching students whether it be in-person or online, and offering positive mentorship and connection through the art of dance and beyond. 

 

As we celebrate 20 YEARS OF IMPACT at the Foundation, we thank you for your generosity in encouraging young people in over 50 cities throughout the US who make the commitment to dance with the DEA Educational Foundation. Your support is invaluable as we expand our flagship youth dance program, as well as develop and increase our other youth programs across the country. 

Passamaquoddy Youth Ctr Shawl Dance in Maine
Passamaquoddy Youth Ctr Shawl Dance in Maine
Jumping for Joy in Tennessee!
Jumping for Joy in Tennessee!
Dancers at Granite State Dance Ctr. strike a pose
Dancers at Granite State Dance Ctr. strike a pose
Youth Baseball at PS20 New York
Youth Baseball at PS20 New York
Dancers reach for the stars in Sacramento, CA
Dancers reach for the stars in Sacramento, CA
Apr 26, 2021

Dancing Into Spring with the DEAEF YDP!

Happy at Home with the DEAEF YDP
Happy at Home with the DEAEF YDP

The DEA Educational Foundation has been busy this spring with continued virtual dance programs, and we will continue to provide students with amazing and positive virtual classes through the end of the school year. Program reach has been very successful and extremely critical during this pandemic; especially as drug overdose death statistics have shown an increase through 2020 and 2021.

 

As we move into summer and plan for programming in fall of 2021, the Foundation will evaluate state and local COVID-19 restrictions and make decisions regarding online, hybrid or in-person programming. Regardless of format, we will continue to bring the power of dance to students, as well as positive mentorship, connection with their peers and self-esteem building opportunities. 

 

In March, stars of Broadway gathered to show their support for the Foundation through an evening of song, dance and incredible speakers. Gary Morris and Rema Webb hosted this event, featuring entertainment by Michael James Scott, Emily Skinner, Eric Nelsen, Danny Gardner, Kelli James and more! Bryan Cranston (of Breaking Bad fame), Elizabeth Stanley (star of Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill) and Alexandra Billings (Wicked) shared incredibly moving remarks on the power of arts education and the DEA Educational Foundation’s important reach to our nation’s youth. The student stars of the DEAEF Youth Dance Program performed in a video captured all via Zoom, which was a highlight of the event. 

 

We are pleased to announce our new partnership with DEA’s Operation Engage, and are honored to have been selected as a Youth Engagement vendor to assist with the Operation Engage endeavor in all 11 cities in its first year of program implementation. Please visit dea.gov for more information on this important effort. 

 

We cannot do this work without your support, and students need you more than ever as we continue to navigate the challenging times of this ongoing pandemic. Together, we can make a difference in the life of a child! 

Staying active at home!
Staying active at home!
Nothing can stop these students from dancing!
Nothing can stop these students from dancing!
Dec 29, 2020

Happy at Home with the DEAEF YDP - Dancing into '21

Dream Academy Virtual Class with Instructor Kelly
Dream Academy Virtual Class with Instructor Kelly

The DEA Educational Foundation didn’t miss a beat this Fall, reaching most of our program cities with unique, high-quality virtual dance classes. In spite of the challenges of this year, the DEAEF YDP programs were a tremendous success at a time when many students are in critical need of positive after-school activities and ways to stay active at home. We partnered with dozens of schools, youth sites and youth organizations, such as the Dream Academy,  to bring valuable programming to the community, and inspirational prevention messages through the power of dance. 

 

The DEAEF Youth Dance Program continued our partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration through participation in DEA’s 2020 Virtual Red Ribbon Rally as part of the “Dance Challenge,” as well as DEA 360 Strategy programs in Las Vegas, Columbus, and Portland ME. We look forward to announcing exciting new programming through community service efforts with  DEA in 2021. 

 

The DEAEF YDP participated in this year’s DEA Educational Foundation Gala “Our Youth. Our Future.” in October, 2020. Hosted by country music artist Gary Morris and radio broadcaster Devon O’Day, this star-studded event featured musicians such as Jay Allen, Kathy Mattea and the Bellamy brothers, with special appearances by actor Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) and DEA agent Steve Murphy (one of the agents who brought down Pablo Escobar, as portrayed in the hit series Narcos). Funds generated from this event support educational efforts by the Foundation to help youth and their families by providing positive prevention programs and education on the dangers of drug use and abuse. 

 

We are proud to have developed several new ways of reaching students and families in this difficult time, including our “Happy at Home” social media initiative. This season, we reached our community with messages of hope through the “Happy at Home for the Holidays” social media campaign. Our DEAEF YDP Instructors, like Cody from Cleveland, offered students and their families short pieces of choreography and inspiring messages to keep them motivated and moving throughout the holidays. 

 

This Fall, 35 instructors and consultants from our youth programs across the country came together for a virtual training session. The training covered topics such as current trends in drug use, strategies for reaching young people in virtual settings, and a keynote address from DEA Chief of Community Outreach Sean Ferns. We are proud of all our instructors and consultants for sharing their passion for dance and continuing to reach students virtually during this challenging time. 

 

Evaluations collected from our virtual dance classes indicate an extremely positive response from both students and their families. One parent said “We appreciate the opportunity to have a class for our daughter during this time, where she can take class with familiar teachers and to participate in an activity she enjoys with other students she knows.” Another parent noted “My son had a fun time. He wasn’t sure if he would like it. He dances around the house but never tried a formal class. He really enjoyed it and was proud of himself for completing the whole class.” 100% of caregivers surveyed following our pilot program this summer indicated the online DEAEF YDP dance class positively affected their child’s mood. While nothing beats human-to-human contact in education, we are grateful to be able to continue our mission of providing young people with a free, healthy after-school activity. 

 

Thank you for your support of the DEA Educational Foundation Youth Dance Program. Wishing you a healthy and happy New Year!

Virtual Training Event - DEAEF Youth Programs
Virtual Training Event - DEAEF Youth Programs
Happy at Home for the Holidays video with Cody
Happy at Home for the Holidays video with Cody
Virtual Dance class in LA with Instructor Jon
Virtual Dance class in LA with Instructor Jon
 
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