Who cannot resist loving this time of the year? It doesn't matter what your beliefs are, where you come from or what the color of your skin is, what matters is that it is a time where we can celebrate the good things in life with the people we love and it gives us another opportunity to get out in our communities or help those less fortunate than ourselves. In today's society where it is very "me" orientated it is also a great way to get the young people who we teach to find ways to give others a constructive hand.

Giving your competition team or serious performing dancers an opportunity to do community service is not only good for them because it builds character but it also wakes them up to the plight of people less fortunate than themselves. There are many different ways to bring Joy to people. One event that always works well is a Nutcracker Breakfast. Arrange for a hall or venue that is not very expensive and bring in breakfast foods pre- cooked and ready to be heated up. Young children and adults alike will enjoy seeing your dancers do excerpts from the Nutcracker and will be mesmerized by them if they can get up close and have their picture taken. Providing coloring books with Nutcracker characters always goes well and you can, of course, add your own touches to the event. It only needs to run for 2 hours but you can gain a lot of traction from that one event and will be able to market your studio to the parents and young children who will attend.

At this time of year there are many senior homes either where they are living independently in their own apartments or in an assisted living facility. Very often they are lonely especially during the holiday season and absolutely love to be entertained by young dancers and singers. The programs do not have to be longer than 30 minutes but the impact will remain with the seniors all year round and will give them something fun to look forward to even if they do not have their family to visit them.

There are many organizations that cook Christmas dinners and give them out free to the homeless. This usually entails going out on Christmas morning to serve these dinners. This is sometimes difficult for people to commit to, but how about doing a fundraiser to be able to buy some turkeys and canned goods to deliver to a homeless shelter. It is easy to ignore the fact that they do exist but if your dancers are able to bring some cheer to these families who have come by hard times, what a wonderful gift that is!

Hospitals and nursing homes are always willing to arrange a performance to cheer their patients up. To hear the music and see the movement of young performers lifts their spirits up and certainly will contribute to their healing. Veteran's hospitals often tend to be neglected and yet the men and women who have so bravely fought for our country and who have been severely injured in the process would benefit so much from watching a performance from your dancers and perhaps hearing some holiday songs. Just feeling all of that positive energy will help them to face their own problems more easily.

Stepping outside the studio to bring good cheer is not only good for your students to help them to become more aware of what they have and the good they can do for others but it will also solidify your studio in the eyes of your community.

Wishing you and yours the happiest Holidays ever!