Little Ballerinas

She was an Arabian horse galloping across desert sand. She was a seagull careening through the ocean breeze. She was a spinning top whirling around in circles. She was a graceful ballerina pirouetting on to the stage. Every year, as a part of the One2One Mentoring Program at Children’s Village, 6-8 special ballerinas and their buddies get to perform on stage in the Yakima School of Ballet’s end of the year show.

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From left to right: Annalee Ullom with Faith Perez, Yomara Valencia with Juliana Ramos, Emily Garcia with Joselyn Oseguera, Ava Gempler with Liliana Holloway, Madison Campbell with Bekah Bishop, Katie Bishop with Laura Riggs, and Chelsea Hino with Allie Washam

Once a week these girls meet at the Yakima School of Ballet for dance practice. For some of the little ballerinas, it may be difficult to jump, or coordinate their arms and legs. However, after a few weeks of encouragement and perseverance, they are doing Grande Bat’ Ma’s across the stage with beaming smiles on their faces. Dance practice is the time they get to forget about school, doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions. It is the time where they get to laugh, learn and just be a girl. It is the time when they get to hang out with their mentor, who acts as a hand-holder, giggle-getter, smile-seeker and best friend.

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Faith giving Annalee (2 year partner) hugs of gratitude.

This program was created in 2004 by a mentor, Kate Kunkler, who was a Yakima School of Ballet student as well. When she left for college, Lisa Price, the studio owner and instructor, took over and the program continues to flourish today. Lisa profits nothing from these ballet sessions and yet she generously gives her time, expertise and patience.

Thank you for your generosity so that this special program can continue.

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Madison putting finishing touches on Jocelyn.

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