Watching six-year-old Amelia Kloepfer proudly twirl and prance on stage during her first ballet recital was a momentous experience for the entire family. Dressed in a sweet pink tutu and hair pulled back into a tight bun, Amelia’s smile radiated throughout the entire auditorium.
Through the One2One Mentoring Program at Children’s Village, Amelia attended dance class at The Yakima School of Ballet. With the help of specially-trained teenage mentors, children with special needs have the opportunity to do a variety of activities they might not get to do otherwise. At the end of the six-week session, the children perform in two recitals, which are a part of the larger recitals hosted by the School of Ballet.
“She just loved her ballet class,” Amelia’s mom Stacey said. “And I can’t speak highly enough of the mentors who helped out. They were patient, kind and enthusiastic.”
Amelia was born with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic syndrome that causes physical disabilities and developmental delays. Diagnosed at 8-months-old, Amelia’s early years were filled with doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions.
Becoming very familiar with the inside of Children’s Village, parents Ryan and Stacey wanted to find a way to connect with other local families.
“We were so busy with therapies in the beginning, that it was a bit of a whirlwind,” Stacey said. “But I really wanted to connect with other families, so I decided to do the Holland support group through Parent to Parent. From there, we just kind of jumped in and never looked back.”
Stacey will co-lead a Holland support group this fall and Ryan sits on the Parent to Parent advisory board.
“We have been so blessed by Children’s Village,” Stacey said. “And if we can give back in a small way like reaching out to other families or sitting on a committee, then we are happy to do it.”
The Kloepfer’s have watched their daughter grow and develop into a happy, healthy little girl; one who loves all things dance and princesses. The ballet recital was a milestone celebration to witness the joy and happiness their daughter exuded as she glided across the stage.
“We are already looking forward to next year,” Stacey said.