Tag Archive: Charity


Can Art Actually Save the World?

Two dancers from Brooklyn based Urban Dance Women came to speak at UGA, today. In addition to a performance centered mission, this dance troupe has community and human rights focused core values, and define themselves by their work to make the world a better place. This, of course, brings about the question, what can dance, and more specifically, your home-based dance troupe actually do to help your community?

We all know how art helps the community. Art has been proven to decrease violence and crime in communities; it can help you to better absorb information; Art can decrease rates of depression; and can help high risk children graduate from high school. But can art feed the hungry? Can art house the homeless? Can art fight for equal rights? Yes? No? Maybe.

Charity Watch’s index of top rated charities fall into the following categories.Let’s discuss how dance can make an impact.

CONSUMER PROTECTION AND LEGAL AID-This is a difficult topic for a troupe to advocate for when a pressing issue is not directly affecting their community. I hope that in our very anti-establishment troupe, we communicate a very healthy fear of big business and the government. I know I make fun of my fair share of politicians.

HUMAN RIGHTS

ABORTION & REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH POLICY-My dance troupe has been involved in the fight for reproductive justice in the past, but is has mainly been in partnership with an organization focused on the fight for reproductive justice (GRJAN). While directly facilitating abortions or lobbying congress for policy change would not be fitting with our mission, I still believe there’s more we can do. Abortions are highly stigmatized, though 30% of women have or will have one in their lifetime. As dance is a means for storytelling, our job is to tell these stories.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN-History shows that the most effective means of fighting discrimination begins with protests, followed by laws. We stand in solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters fighting for equality, but how does that translate into action? Inclusivity starts in your home troupe. It should look like 50 Shades of Brown Skin when you look at your dance family. Can’t find dancers? Bring your art form to the audience you wish to encourage to join.
AIDS-Once again, my troupe has held benefit shows and raised awareness for this cause. We are publicly sex positive and give out condoms at shows, indirectly encouraging healthy sexual encounters. This is a topic we need to make an effort to be more outspoken on.
AMERICAN INDIAN-Please see AFRICAN-AMERICAN
ANIMAL & ANIMAL PROTECTION-Despite almost everyone in our troupe owning a pet, we have done nothing to help this cause. A dance troupe could raise funds, raise awareness, volunteer. I’ve long wanted my troupe to get involved in Pets and Wonder, for instance.
ASIA & ASIAN-AMERICAN-Please see AFRICAN-AMERICAN
BLIND & VISUALLY-IMPAIRED-UBW talked about instructing blind children in dance by describing what each part of their body needed to be doing. This is a wonderful jumping off point.
CANCER-Cancer survivors are actually my troupe’s major project moving forward. Using Pink Light Burlesque as a model, we hope to begin to offer classes to breast cancer survivors, as well as survivors of sexual abuse. In addition to the therapeutic elements of dance, we hope to make a impact in our community by helping others rediscover and own their sexuality.
CHILD PROTECTION-Unfortunately, due to the nature of our performance, we cannot be involved with children, however, working with children may be the most important work that other troupes can do. In addition to ensuring future generations of performers and artists, physical activity and art help students in just about every way possible. No work that a troupe does is more important than working with the next generation.
CHILD SPONSORSHIP-Please see CHILD PROTECTION
CONSUMER PROTECTION AND LEGAL AID-This is a difficult topic for a troupe to tackle when a topical incident is not directly affecting their community. I hope in our very anti-establishment troupe, we inspire a healthy fear of the government and big business. I think more of our numbers could tackle some global issues and bring awareness to current events.
CRIME & FIRE PREVENTION-I definitely have my eye on a lot of fire hazards at shows, but how does one prevent crime through dance, aside from working with at risk children? Is that the only way?
DISABLED-We need to be holding workshops and introducing our art to all people.
DRUG & ALCOHOL ABUSE-I’m sure that dance troupes that have not had in-house issues with drugs and alcohol are few and far between. We need to take that expertise out into our communities. Art can be a very helpful means of healing.
ENVIRONMENT-In 2004, Canopy Studio did an evocative show about the tragedies of environmental destruction. Who knows if it resulted in any lifestyle changes, but it’s a great first step.
GUN CONTROL (PRO/CON)-Right now, action on this issue needs to be taking place in our government. While our venue is gun free, as a feminist troupe we have to do more.
HEALTH – GENERAL-Between our medium (dance) and our sexual health positivisity, I feel as though we’re doing a great job of encouraging healthy habits for our audience. However, many of our food involving activities do involve sweets. Perhaps we can work to change that in the future.
HISPANIC – GENERAL-Please see AFRICAN-AMERICAN
HOMELESSNESS & HOUSING-What began this blog post what a thought I had that dance can’t shelter the homeless. Unfortunately, I still don’t have a great idea of what dance can do to help our homeless neighbors. The first step for all of these causes is to partner with a local nonprofit working on the cause and raise money and awareness for them. Perhaps on this issue, this is the best that we can do.
HUMAN RIGHTS-I can proudly say that my troupe is actively fighting for human rights, through our performances, our social media, and our day-to-day actions. I know that any member of my troupe will stand up against injustices in real life, and our numbers will address issues of discrimination. I am fortunate that this has happened naturally thus far and am confident that it will continue to be this way. As far as cultivating this attitude in other troupes, the main reason I believe my troupe is so passionate is because it is a frequent topic of conversation whenever we are all together.
HUMAN SERVICES-Human services seems to fall into the category of dance can’t build houses. Like the homeless issues, align yourself with an organization that can help the injured and provide services in natural disasters, and give them time, money, and volunteers.
HUNGER-Dance can’t feed the hungry, either, but a troupe can hold a food drive. Syrens of the South does an excellent job of serving their local community. Many of their shows offer a ticket discount if an audience member brings a donation for the charity that the shows sponsors. I specifically remember them holding a food drive in their past.
INTERNATIONAL RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT-Frequently, troupes are lucky to be reaching out beyond their community, let alone at a world-wide scale. Yet again, my suggestion is to find an organization working on this cause and offer exposure, funds, and volunteers.
JEWISH & ISRAEL-Please see AFRICAN-AMERICAN
LITERACY-The fight for literacy in America is being fought with our youth–on a elementary, middle, and high school level. Unfortunately, that means that my troupe an only support the mission from afar. We’ve done benefits for our local library and shows celebrating books, but that’s as far as we can go.
MENTAL HEALTH & DISABILITIES-Please see DISABLED.
PEACE & INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS-Please see INTERNATIONAL RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT
POPULATION PLANNING-Please see INTERNATIONAL RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT
PUBLIC POLICY-Please see CONSUMER PROTECTION AND LEGAL AID
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH-Please see ABORTION & REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH POLICY
SENIOR CITIZENS-Senior citizens need to be at the top of our list of populations to target, along with cancer and sexual violence survivors. Other troupes have done a better job at involving their legends to perform with them, and we need to get on board.
TERMINALLY OR CHRONICALLY ILL-While some people may be too ill to dance, those that are physically able to be involved in our art deserve the opportunity. It is our responsibility to bring such opportunities to them.
VETERANS & MILITARY-Dancing ladies and the military have a long history together. I would love to have my troupe’s thoughts on how to recreate this relationship in our own community.
WOMEN’S RIGHTS-Please see HUMAN RIGHTS
YOUTH DEVELOPMENT-Please see CHILD PROTECTION
YOUTH – RESIDENTIAL CARE-Please see CHILD PROTECTION

These days, I no longer carry cash, so any approach to that jaunty ringing bell typically finds me scrounging in my pocket book for change. If I have to give to the Salvation Army in change, I try and give over $1 to alleviate some of the guilt I feel at hearing the clink of such a small amount of money falling into the bucket.

Something I’ve noticed in my elongated time of searching through my pocket book, nobody else is giving. I’m not sure if it’s the economy or the currency change or maybe even the places I’m shopping, but many people pass me by and don’t even glance at that bucket.

So this post is just going to be a quick run-down of what the Salvation Army does, and what you are giving to when you put money in that bucket.

The original Salvation Army bucket was meant to symbolize  a kettle for food. The idea was that while people were out spending money on things such as gifts, we can at least make sure that others have basic necessities like food.

These days, The Salvation Army assists more than four-and-a-half million people during the holidays.  Volunteers distribute dinners, clothing, toys, and basic necessities to families in need, as well as shut-ins in hospitals and nursing homes. Additionally, SA shelters are open for sit-down dinners throughout the holidays.

“The Salvation Army endeavors to bring spiritual light and love to those it serves at Christmas so that the real meaning of the season is not forgotten.” –SA Website

So when you give your change to The Salvation Army, it’s kind of like giving to a food drive, Toys for Tots, and your local homeless shelter all at once, all for money that would have just ended up at the bottom of the washing machine, anyway.

Art Auction for Angel Faces

Art Auction

Hey everyone, I just heard from Tammy about this Art Auction hosted by Inspiration Avenue. The Auction is going to be from March 7th -14th and 100% of the proceeds will benefit Angel Faces. This amazing organization sponsors a week long retreat for young ladies with facial disfigurements. The girls are taught yoga, arts, coping techniques for everyday life, and receive spa treatments and make-overs . They are placed in a comfortable, loving environment, free from judgment for a week. Girls leave this retreat with a new found sense of community, confidence, and motivation.

This organization is amazing, and I highly recommend everyone participate in the auction.