When I was little, I took dance three days a week at a school in Brooklyn. I loved it and looked forward to going each and every day. That is, until one day my grandma told me that I couldn’t go anymore—we couldn’t afford it. I was wrecked.
Of course, my grandma put things in perspective for me quite quickly, and I started accompanying her on so many Meals on Wheels runs. For hours every day, we delivered goods to those who needed it! It was a lesson to me that there is always someone in need and that there is no better feeling than paying it forward. Life lessons I’ll never forget.
A Little Idea
Little Danielle was on my mind the other day when I heard of a student in my sphere who couldn’t afford to take dance classes anymore. I paid the tuition without a second thought. When I posted the note I received as a thank you, I didn’t expect the thousands of messages from parents saying they too had to pull their kids from dance or sports because of the expenses. My heart sank!! If I could pay everyone’s tuition, I would, but it got me thinking: how many of us could make a difference in a kid’s life?
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The Struggle Is Real
I know from experience how hard it is to grow up financially insecure. I slept on couches, I slept in cars—I never want another child to feel that way. Finding a creative, emotional outlet was so crucial to my development. Hey, we know now I essentially have two left feet, but the passion was real!
Whether it be dance, sports, or art classes—no matter the outlet, it’s so integral to our kids’ lives to be able to pursue the dreams that they’re passionate about. But the truth is, a lot of folks are struggling. And with it comes a mixture of shame, stress, and grief…the burden goes beyond money; it can be all-consuming. If there’s a way we can help each other, I think we should do it.
Paying It Forward
If you are crushing goals and have a little extra on hand, consider putting it toward a family who needs it. Yes, there are more obvious ways of donating, like meal drop-offs, etc. But you can also reach out to your local kids’ sports teams or dance teams and let them know you’d like to sponsor a child. You may be surprised to find out how many families need the assistance.
There are so many talented kids that deserve to pursue their dreams — money shouldn’t get in the way of that! It can be completely anonymous, but the results can mean everything. I think every child should get the same chances and opportunities to explore everything that life has to offer. Together, let’s pay it forward.
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