After School Dance Programs for Youth at Risk

by DEA Educational Foundation Youth Dance Program
Lima North Middle Students
Lima North Middle Students

At the end of March, 2014 the DEA Educational Foundation launched a DEA Youth Dance Program at Lima North Middle to bring kids a positive and healthy activity at the end of the school day. This project was made possible through a very generous donation by Dizzy Feet Foundation to bring kids dance in memory of Cory Monteith, the young "Glee" actor who tragically lost his life to a drug overdose. The DEA Youth Dance Program is an outlet to help children to stay drugfree and to never go down the path of this type of tragedy.  Lima was of particular interest to Dizzy Feet because Cory’s last Glee series was filmed at a fictional high school in Lima, OH. As Lima is such a small, working-class city, the program launch proved to be one of the biggest events in the community history receiving extremely positive articles in the paper and news spots on TV. The DEA Youth Dance class is filled to capacity within less than one day, with over 60 applications coming in for a class of 25 students. The class is filled with half boys. Our partnering dance company heading up this project is Lyn's Dance Academy and they are very dedicated to this program.

The class, which is mostly filled with at-risk students from low-income families has had a tremendous impact on the students. “The opportunity to have a positive program build on the foundation of dance for our students will leave a lasting impact on their entire academic experience. The buzz that was generated after our opening assembly was so strong and uplifting in our building and was felt by all staff and students in attendance.” (Matt Quatman, Vice Principal, Lima North Middle)

On April 2nd, even a greater opportunity for the students was presented. Dizzy Feet Foundation approached The DEA Youth Dance Program about having the Lima North students perform at the  Dizzy Feet Foundation Gala in Los Angeles on July 19th, 2014. Although Dizzy Feet is unable to fund this venture, the DEA Educational Foundation felt they should do everything possible to make this opportunity a reality for the students.

The DEA Educational Foundation approved the use of funding to make this a reality for the DEA YDP students. All hotel rooms for the children and chaperones are being donated by a generous downtown Los Angeles hotel. And, due to the DEA Educational Foundation supporting this trip through operational funds, students will have the amazing experinece of performing on a Los Angeles stage and will see the largest U.S. city firsthand, likely a once in a lifetime opportunity. When parents of the students were informed, there were tears of joy. Additionally, the Vice Principal of Lima North Middle informed the DEA Educational Foundation that several of these students have never left Lima, OH.

Classes have begun to prepare the students for their performance and most will take their first plane ride and dip their toes in the ocean for the first time on July 18th, 2014.

The DEA Educational Foundation Youth Dance Program relies on generous donations such as yours to help us to continue DEA Youth Dance Programs around the United States, as well as reach new schools on our ever-growing waitlist. Funds also assist with scholarships in dance, as well as very special projects such as the bringing the Lima group to Los Angeles to experience a trip of a lifetime. Thank you for your continued support!


DEA YDP Program in Baltimore
DEA YDP Program in Baltimore

The DEA Youth Dance Program has launched several new programs to meet the growing needs of communities around the United States. And, while we are thrilled to reach these new regions, our waitlist continues to grow to over one hundred locations.  New programs have begun in Baltimore, MD, Dallas, TX, Lima, OH, Dallas, TX, and Monterey, CA. Two additional programs will begin in Sioux City, IA and Tampa, FL by the end of April. These six new programs alone will reach thousands of children through assembly performances and 150 students in ten-week dance class series.

Here’s what a few of our principals had to say about the program:

  • “The opportunity to have a positive program built on the foundation of dance for our students will leave a lasting impact on their entire academic experience. The buzz that was generated after our opening assembly was so strong and uplifting in our building felt by all staff and students in attendance.” –Matt Quatman, Assistant Principal Lima North Middle
  • “Thank you again for your efforts in helping me organize this amazing assembly!  The kids are still talking about it!  I am truly looking forward to working with you and your amazingly talented dancers in the future. Never dreamed so many DEA officers would be at our school at one time.  You certainly made a wonderful impression on everyone!”  

           -Wendy Cottrell, Principal Our Lady of Victory School

The DEA Youth Dance Program, one of the largest programs under the DEA Educational Foundation, brings students dance as a positive and healthy alternative to drugs in 26 cities. In many of the cities, DEA field offices have gotten involved by having special agents coming out to visit and support students, and often speak to the children about the dangers of drugs to their bodies and to our society. 

As we look forward to summer, we are thrilled that DEA Youth Dance Program students have been invited to again perform as part of National Dance Day in July and that dozens of students will begin scholarships in dance throughout the United States.

Thank you to all of our supporters through Global Giving! We couldn’t reach our goals without you!

Kids in Baltimore watch YDP Performance
Kids in Baltimore watch YDP Performance



With the substantial support from the Global Giving Foundation’s community, the DEA Youth Dance Program continues to expand its reach with the important mission of inspiring at-risk children to avoid the dangers of drug use and cultivate self expression and empowerment though dance.  As we enter into 2014, we are elated to announce our vital presence in 25 cities nation wide, including expansion to four new cities in need of the DEA Youth Dance Program.

Our newest program in Maricopa, Arizona is thriving with classes filled to capacity at both schools, serving the city’s entire Middle School populace. Epik Dance, Phoenix’s leading hip hop and contemporary dance company is working with students weekly in preparation for a collaborative community show about the importance of drug resistance while exemplifying positive and active lifestyles. Correspondingly, in the Seattle area of Auburn, Washington DEA YDP students at Ilalko Elementary have been asked to by the city to participate in a performance with a similar theme of inspiring teens and pre-teens in the community.

In February DEA DYP is expanding to programs to Dallas, TX, Tampa, FL, Lima, Ohio and Orange County, CA. Our program in Lima, Ohio will be dedicated to Cory Monteith, the young actor from Glee who tragically died from a drug overdose. The local program will inspire children in the Ohio community to foster self-expression while staying away from substance abuse. Our Tampa program will give the DEA Educational Foundation a permanent foothold now that the Target America traveling museum has relocated. Further, we anticipate future expansion to Baltimore with Target America opening at the Baltimore Science Center as many in the community have already expressed keen interest in the DEA Youth Dance Program.

We are thankful and hopeful to continue to receive support from communities across the United States and we are in unique appreciation for GlobalGiving’s creative efforts in supporting non-profit organizations such as ours. 


Kids in West Virginia at First DEA YDP Class
Kids in West Virginia at First DEA YDP Class

The DEA Youth Dance Program continues its momentum inspiring over 6,000 children this fall through kick off assemblies in over 20 cities across the nation with their important message to express healthy lifestyles through dance and avoiding the dangers of drug use. Underserved schools in Baltimore, Chicago, Jersey City, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle and many other cities across the U.S. were informed of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, encouraged to express themselves artistically, and were lead through interactive exercises with professional dancers serving as role models. Students were then given the opportunity to partake in a 20-week program offering weekly classes and performance and scholarship opportunities that will continue into Summer 2014.

The DEA YDP Program, now in 21 cities is anticipated to grow to 25 cities by the start of 2014. Due to recent local and national support, expansion cities include Columbus, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix and Tampa. DEA YDP has witnessed an extraordinary response from students, administration and community. Classes filled up in less than 20 minutes in some schools, exemplifying the great need and thirst for the program. The wait list for additional programs continues to grow. DEA YDP is hopeful to meet the growing need to provide artistic outlets for children now more than ever as education budgets continue to cut the Arts from school curriculum. Further, we know that the growing rate in childhood obesity and increase in drug use across the U.S. calls for immediate response.

DEA YDP Instructors were eager to meet this need and learn how to address theses problems in DEA YDP classes. In New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., instructors traveled near and far to be a part of the annual DEA Youth Dance Program Training. DEA Special Agents were honored speakers sharing about the Drug Enforcement Administration, current drug trends with teens and helpful insight to truths and hazards of drug use. Instructors were also coached on DEA YDP themes, ensuring safety in classrooms, self-esteem builders, dealing with conflict, team building, discipline, decision-making, and expansive teaching tools. Nationally DEA YPD has an incredible team of passionate, capable instructors serving youth. Collectively, we are looking forward to making an even bigger impact as we enter 2014.

TV Critic
TV Critic's Choice Awards

The DEA Youth Dance Program has participated in several exciting events over the past two months! In May, the DEA Youth Dance Program was thrilled to bring 30 children from Carthay Elementary school in Los Angeles to perform at the DEA Educational Foundation benefit dinner honoring philanthropist Walter Wang. This event brought three wonderful news clips to ABC7 in Los Angeles, bringing a great deal of recognition to the program.

In June, the DEA Youth Dance Program was honored at the TV Critic's Choice Awards in Beverly Hills, CA. The DEA Youth Dance Program received a donation from thalo, in association with the "Inspiration Award" that was given to the acclaimed ABC Family television show "Bunheads" and presented to the star of the show, Sutton Foster. Over fifty television stars learned about the DEA Youth Dance Program at the event and signed posters for the DEA Educational Foundation.

And, on July 27th, The DEA Youth Dance Program was invited by the Dizzy Feet Foundation to participate in National Dance Day at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and at Grand Park in Los Angeles.  We are thrilled to be a part of the National Dance Day celebrations showcasing the importance of dance and how it can be such a postiive influence on the lives of so many people.

The program continues to grow! Several of our first year students have begun to take long-term dance through scholarship at local studios and we are preparing to launch programs in 21 cities for the 2013-14 school year in September and October. Thousands of children are turning to the positive outlet of dance instead of drugs and negative behaviors due the DEA Youth Dance Program. Thank you for your support!

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Organization Information

DEA Educational Foundation Youth Dance Program

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Jill Roberts
Santa Monica, CA United States
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