ORLANDO, Fla., July 22, 2009 – With plenty of jazz shoes and ballet slippers in tow, Disney VoluntEAR Janet Wagner is gearing up to choreograph an introductory dance routine for a group of eager, young students at the Walt Disney World-sponsored Boys & Girls Club in Pine Hills.
“I really love being able to show these kids a different type of recreation,” Wagner says with a smile. “It’s a whole other world to them. It’s very rewarding to let them know there is no limit to what they can do.”
Disney VoluntEARS are taking center stage at the Club this summer to share their expertise in all aspects of the performing arts with hundreds of local children ages 6-18. Over the course of a special nine-week program, Cast Members are hoping to inspire youth by teaching them the basics of script writing, acting, dance, music production, costume design, stage and set design, lighting, sound, producing and directing. Each child will get a chance to showcase their newly developed talents in a grand finale stage production held at the Boys & Girls Club on August 14. Earning awe from Boys & Girls Club staffers for recently getting 82 children to all move in synchronized rhythm, Wagner enjoyed keeping the kids on their toes as she showed them how movement plays into drama.
Being quick-minded is a skill that Disney VoluntEAR Amanda Nesi shared with the youngsters as she helped them build self-esteem through improv and acting exercises. “Seeing the kids light up and get out of their shells was very cool,” said Nesi. “I wanted them to know that it’s OK to be silly and have fun.”
For many at the Boys & Girls Club, these summer activities are their first exposure to the arts. “The children have been very attentive and quick to ask questions,” says Bart McFadden, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida Service Director. “They think the Disney VoluntEARS are rock stars.”
By having youngsters see a production through to an end, McFadden says the experience helps instill a sense of influence, belonging and confidence in Club Members and introduces them to new options in life. “Having someone with a wealth of expertise bearing the Disney name is invaluable to our kids,” explains McFadden. “It’s exposing them to career paths beyond what they know and inspiring them to positively use their imaginations. They see how successful they can be if they just apply themselves.”