Giving Back, Gaining More

Charitable giving has has always had a place in my heart

From the time I could understand what giving was, I wanted to do it!  My Mom and Dad were BIG givers. Even during lean times, they were always first to offer to help, share or give. It’s a lesson they passed on to me that has only grown with time.

Yesterday was, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, now traditionally known as “Giving Tuesday” around the world.  Although I’m a big believer that giving belongs in our lives at ALL times of the year, I do love that there’s a dedicated day to raising awareness of all the amazing non-profit organizations that exist.

With that in mind, I thought I would “pull back the curtain” on just a few of the non-profits we support through Misty’s Dance Unlimited and More Than Just Great Dancing® …

Traveling Tutus

Traveling Tutus’ mission is to bring the joy of dance to children around the world (I mean, that’s a pretty exciting mission, right?!).  By collecting and distributing gently used costumes and dance attire, they are bringing the dance experience into full color for kids in need.  Donations go to far-flung countries like Nigeria and Uganda, and also to orphanages and after-school programs right here in the U.S.

One of the MANY things I love about Traveling Tutus is the way they connect us to the organizations who receive the donations: the smiles on those kids’ face absolutely bring tears to my eyes.  Each year we are proud to send boxes upon boxes of items to them for distribution.

Youth Protection Advocates in Dance

YPAD, as it’s known, has a cause close to my heart.  They are dedicated to keeping dance students safe in and out of the classroom, and they strive to empower those kids, their parents, and their teachers with the tools and resources they need to cultivate a healthy environment.  If this sounds like a BIG mission, it is! But by certifying dance schools and dance events around the country, YPAD is positively influencing the dance industry one studio at a time.

When I first met Leslie Scott, the founder of YPAD, I knew I had to support her ideas to change the dance world for the better.  MDU proudly became the first official YPAD Certified studio and MTJGD became YPAD’s first visionary sponsor. I have much respect for Leslie’s passion in achieving a safer, healthier dance environment for all children.

Darby’s Dancers

Darby’s Dancers is an organization that provides dance classes to children with special needs at no cost to their families.  It was created by Patrick and Valerie Jones to honor their daughter, Darby, who lived a full and joyous life for only 13 years.  Darby was born with Down syndrome, a heart defect, and leukemia. But throughout all of her hospitalizations and challenges, dancing made Darby feel like a star … she loved every minute of it.

Through the Darby’s Dancers program framework, individual studios set up a once-a-week class led by a volunteer teacher, with teenage volunteers to assist the participants.  Many of the studios also have their dancers perform in the recital, an awesome opportunity for them to experience what it’s like to perform. Our Darby’s Dancers at MDU are absolutely stars just like Daby was; when I see them, I see her.  I honestly can’t think of a better way to bring dance into the lives of these rockstar children.

These organizations and the others we support are incredible examples of how giving back has an impact so much bigger than ourselves!  I believe that when it comes to charitable giving, we gain even more than we give.  It is a major way we learn how to care, how to empathize, how to understand, and how to influence.  

I encourage you to give back any time you feel called to do so.  Not just Giving Tuesday but any day that feels right.

Give when your heart says, “It’s time to help.”  

Give when your mind says, “I believe in this.”  

Give when you feel nudged by God … or by your neighbor.

Give of your time or your money or your talent.

Just give.

Love, Misty