The MindLeaps Center in Conakry receives over 60 children a day who come to participate in dance classes. Early in the year, we increased the hours of dance instruction to meet increasing demand as word of the program spreads in the community.
Our teachers are at the heart of our activity and they continue to motivate and inspire students. For example, instructor Ibrahima Camara teaches the younger children, 7-9 years old, which can be a difficult age group. But Ibrahima has a knack for working with these younger kids and they have shown amazing progress under his guidance. They have even begun to choreograph their own dance moves, which is a thrill to watch!
MindLeaps has recently set up a volunteer program in cooperation with the American International School of Conakry. In February, twelve student volunteers from the American International School began participating in weekend activities at the MindLeaps center. The volunteers take part in 45 minutes of dance class along with MindLeaps students, followed by leading group activities, such as reading and interactive games. MindLeaps kids are becoming more self-confident as they realize they can meet and connect with other children, sharing these moments together.
Also in February, Amara Condé paid a visit to the center. Amara was one of the first children to participate in the early MindLeaps program in partnership with Association Benka-Fissa in Kindia, Guinea, in 2011. Today Amara lives in the United States. At the MindLeaps center, he led a weekend hip hop class and spent time talking with the children about his experiences. The kids loved the class and he was a great role model for them.
In addition to dance and English classes, it is important for the children at MindLeaps to develop a sense of responsibility, so older students are asked to help out at the center. They watch over the younger kids during breaks, help with serving meals, maintaining the yard and general housekeeping. This regular commitment helps them understand that MindLeaps is like a family, where everyone has a role to play in making the family function well.
With your support, the children at MindLeaps are making strides toward breaking the poverty cycle in the aftermath of Ebola, and are moving ahead to a better future.