Community Changemakers: How three locals are making a difference in their neighborhoods

Monica Makes It Happen

Three New York locals are making it their priority to show up and give back to their communities.

A Queens-based non-profit provides dance instruction for every child, regardless of their physical ability. A Long Island organization’s mission is to “smash the stereotype that Black people don’t swim” and teach 2,020 people of color how to swim. A Westchester neighborhood organization is focused on providing life-changing essentials to babies, toddlers and new parents in critical need.

PIX11 spoke with the founders of Black People Will Swim, Bundles of Joy NY, and Dancing Dreams about the differences they’re making in their neighborhoods. Watch the full interview HERE.

Meet our Community Changemakers:

  • Paulana Lamonier, Founder of Black People Will Swim
  • Joann Ferrara, Founder of Dancing Dreams
  • Adrienne Harper, Founder of Bundles of Joy NY

Q: According to the USA Swimming Foundation, 67% of Black children don’t know how to swim — how do you think more parents can empower their children to learn this life skill?

Paulana Lamonier, Founder of Black People Will Swim: I think it starts with more parents being informed on the importance of swimming. Parents must be informed of the resources, swim classes, and activities, so they can have their children involved. It’s our responsibility as a community and society to inform one another of programs, like Black People Will Swim, that are taking place in the community. 

Q: How can the PIX11 audience help support your business? 

Paulana: We currently have a crowdfunding campaign where we are raising money to get our own pool. The campaign ends in December so we encourage everyone to join our movement before it’s too late. Those interested can donate HERE.

Q: What has the response been like from parents and students that have taken part in some of your programs and classes?

Joann Ferrara, Founder of Dancing Dreams: We teach our dancers to proud of what they CAN do. By focusing on that, our dancers have become empowered and carryover certain skills learned into other areas of their lives. They get to live out a moment on stage as a star and their parents get to enjoy watching their child having fun.

Q: How can the PIX11 audience help support your organization? 

Joann: Dancing Dreams is in desperate need of a space to hold classes in Manhattan. We’re looking for a space on the Upper West Side on Mondays between 3:15 p.m. to 6:16 p.m. We’re also looking for teen volunteers aged 13 to 18 that can assist dancers at our sites in Bayside, Queens, Manhattan, and Planview, Long Island. Anyone interested in helping can email us at sharon@dancingdreams.org.

Q: How many families do you serve per year and how can the PIX11 audience help support your organization?

Adrienne Harper, Founder of Bundles of Joy NY: We service approximately 1,500 families a year throughout Westchester and NYC. We are always looking for volunteers to help sort donations, deliver items, help with marketing, and create partnerships. If you have skills to offer we are always open! Those interested in helping can purchase items from our Amazon registry or donate their used and new items and gear. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Connect with PIX11 Online

Connect with PIX11 Online

Trending Stories

Don't Miss