Aug 7, 2012 11:06 PM
For nearly 15 years Paradise Dancers has offered formal dance training to kids and adults on the ridge. Director Don Wolheim first started the non-profit in 1998 to help children gain self-confidence, and to teach them a skill he holds close to his heart, free of charge. Over the past few years though, the group has seen a decline in revenue from fundraisers and a drop in the number of students. Dancers like Katie Bradley say if they don't see a boost in those numbers there's a chance the program won't survive.
"If we don't get to do our summer fundraisers, if we don't have the money to put them on, (then) we don't get the word out. We really rely on that to get the students interested to come in."
The students organize the fundraisers and events themselves, and do most of the work to keep Paradise Dancers afloat throughout the year. The group’s director says they rely heavily on community support and are hopeful that residents on the ridge continue to help the organization grow.
"We would like to be able to expand a little bit and we are in a very old building which needs a lot of upkeep and so forth. for instance, we need a roof and we need some more cement work done around the building and so forth. there's a lot of stuff we need to do," says Wolheim.
Many students say Paradise Dancers has become a second home for them. A home they want to be able to share with others for years to come.
“This is kind of a safe house. This is where kids go to dance and let everything go and be with people they love and who support them. So I think that would be a huge loss for them, for the same reasons it would be a huge loss for myself," says Bradley.
Paradise Dancers will hold its next fundraiser, “A Black Tie Affair”, on Saturday at the Paradise Veterans Hall. For more information go to the Newslinks section on our website.
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