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Mentor Spotlight: Kayla

I had a fantastic experience being a part of the Executive Team for Ballet and Books Howard Chapter. Since first hearing about the program, I immediately wanted to be a part of this team because I knew it was going to create such a strong impact in the lives of young children in the D.C. area. Since I started dancing at age three, I always knew there was something so special about dance. At a young age, it allowed me to express myself, and it served as my emotional outlet as I got older. I have seen firsthand the ways in which dance can make a huge difference in a child’s life, and being able to say I was a part of that experience in someone else’s life is huge.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been such a life-changing experience for those who have been directly affected by the virus, and even for those who have only just heard about the horrible effects of it. For me, it has honestly been a period of awakening and learning a lot about myself that I can honestly say I am grateful for. In the beginning of the pandemic, I did not think that I would come out with such positive things to say on the ways in which I’ve grown as an individual. I also realized that not being able to go outside and interact with the world how I had done before had a bigger effect on my mental health than I ever could have imagined it would’ve.

This program not only helped the kids grow; it also helped me. The energy of my mentee brought a light to my life at a time where things were very overwhelming and taught me that nothing going on in my life should ever have the power to keep me down. I am very grateful for the experiences and lessons Ballet & Books has given me this semester.

Ballet and Books is a national, non-profit organization striving to reduce the literacy gap through the hybrid storytelling of dance and reading.