We are so grateful to again, in 2017, provide services to the women and children at the Nexus Recovery Center. I don't know if through the years I have explained what makes Nexus such a special place for young women and their children to recover from drug abuse.
The mission of Nexus is -- "to serve as a link to sobriety, independence, and dignity for low-income women and their families affected by addiction. Nexus inspires hope, offer respect, and honors the unique differences of female addicts"
Teen girls (ages 13-17) who are in need of addiction treatment can be served at Nexus. There are two high school classrooms on campus and DISD teachers ensure the girls stay on track at school while in treatment. What's so great about Nexus is that they let girls bring their children. There are a lot of rehab centers, but not all of them let the children stay at the same facility as their Moms - and no one else provides the extra services to the children that come from Dance To Live.
Of course, the holiday season has just ended and over the last 3 months we have worked with the children on themed activities. When we provide activities around the Thanksgiving holiday, we tailor those activities to match the holiday. So we may read a story about the Pilgrims and then have the children act out some of the parts - or get on the floor and gobble like a turkey. Always, at Thanksgiving we talk about gratitude in our groups and we go around and ask what each child is grateful for. It allows them to speak, and trains the other children to listen respectfully.
At Christmas we ask them to vocalize a want and a wish. Almost every one of the 3-5 year olds ask for a home for the homeless (after all, at the moment they are homeless), and I was surprised to hear their wishes were for food for the hungry. It says a lot about where they have come from. One young boy, however, concurred about all the food he would like for himself and others - but then added - "but it would really be great to get a bike!" Got to love the reality of children!
But most of our activity is focused on moving - dancing, yoga, breathing exercises, relaxation, balance, teamwork, discipline and awareness and respect for others. This is accomplished through games accompanied by music designed for the individual lessons. And props - lots of props. Props for color and numbers, props to assist in decision making, props to teach sharing and cooperation. For instance we have a large circular net. The children make a big circle in the room and stretch out the net. Into the net, we throw a teddy bear. There is a story that goes along with this - teddy ate too much pizza and feels that he needs to exercise so he will feel better. So the children use the net to throw teddy way up in the air - and, of course, they have to catch him as he comes down. If he flies off toward the edge, they have to save him and get him back into the middle again where he will be safe. After this game has run its course (and they do love to throw teddy up and catch him again (sometimes we count the number of times we successfully catch teddy). then we can turn the net into a tent into which an individual may step to the center and choose a Yoga pose to show the others.
All of this is designed to build not only physical skills and body awareness, but the confidence to perform as a part of the class which then increases supportive relationships.
Everything Dance To Live does is to provide mentally and physically the fun that is so frequently left out of the life of a child of an addict. The lessons are woven into the games. The games teach skills and the joy that results from it all, is our reward.
Thank you for supporting Dance To Live in its mission - a healthy and effective method for a child to transcend the challenges of the moment and to work toward emotional and physical wellbeing. It is a means of expression, connection, co-operation, an outlet for emotion and a source of joy for children of all ages, backgrounds and physical abilities.