UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan — A workshop geared towards homeless students in our city is putting some big smiles across their faces before school gets underway next week.
For two days, dozens of kids are taught hip hop dance by top dancers and choreographers at the Broadway Dance Center in the Upper West Side.
While they may look like any other group of young, smiling children, each and every one also happens to come from a family homeless shelter.
Sixty-one students in total are taking part and they’re from shelters from across all five boroughs. Ranging in age from six to 12 years old, each one said the program gives them a break from reality and allows them to take part in something they’re passionate about.
One in 10 New York City public school students face homelessness each year and Nolasca Ventura, a Bronx middle schooler, is among them.
The dance workshop is just a small part of a summer long program led by WIN, or Women in Need, a not for profit providing shelter and support for homeless women and their children.
It’s giving Nolasca and so many others just like her a shot at having a summer full of activities just like anyone else her age should have access to.
For instructors we spoke to, there was nothing like this moment to put a spotlight on talent these kids may not even know they have.