A dream that started when she was attending school at East Carolina University and majoring in dance is becoming a reality for Lori Knowles.
Knowles, owner/operator of Lori’s School of Dance in Clinton, had taken classes at ECU that introduced dance to those with special needs and she said she’d always dreamed of one day being able to provide that for this community. She now will.
After talking with one of her students, Mikayla McLamb, a sophomore at Hobbton High School, the two decided this was something they wanted to take on, and take it on they did, providing what will now be The Miracle of Dance program, a free initiative offered to those with special needs.
“Mikayla and I were talking one afternoon following class and she was telling me of her desire to do something to help her community,” Knowles recalled. “Since she is a pageant person and holds a couple of titles, she wants to broaden her public service activities and her platform. I told her about my dream of having a class for special needs students and Mikayla became very excited about the possibilities of helping with the class. And that’s how the program began. I feel now is the right time for my dream to come true.”
The classes will be for students age 5 up to sixth grade and will be offered every other Saturday starting Sept. 15.Time for the first class will be at 9:30 a.m. Most importantly, stated Knowle,s the classes will be free.
“We will break down the classes according to ages and mental and physical needs. We will provide supervision for these students, but there will be some parents who will be allowed to stay and assist as volunteers, if needed,” Knowles pointed out.
McLamb, who is the reigning Young Miss Goldsboro and the Royal Miss Sampson County Angel, stated that she just wanted to be able to give back.
“I have been so blessed and I want to be able to share the abilities God has given me with my dance talent and use it to help others. That is why I am so excited about helping Ms. Lori with this class. I want these students to realize how special they are and that even though they may have disabilities they can still do things that others do,” expressed the dance student.
McLamb will also be using her titles and pageant experiences to help raise funds for the program. She will be conducting fundraising activities to help pay for student’s costumes and recitals and any other funding issues that might come up, explained Knowles. “This program will not only benefit the students we will be working with, it will help Mikayla with her platform and community service. It will also broaden her experiences as well as mine as we share in giving back to others,” added the dance teacher.
There is also the possibility the classes will expand to incorporate older students as the program matures.
The logo for the program is that of a small fairy wearing ballet slippers sitting on the edge of the “e” in dance. Knowles explained that when she was younger, she had a teacher who told her fairies were not like anyone else. “I was told fairies had to think outside the box. The special needs students have to think outside the box every day to survive. Because these students are such special people, they are different from everyone else, but through the Miracle of Dance they can be like those of us who have the ability to dance without the restrictions or difficulties some of them may face. That is why I had a fairy put on the logo,” cited Knowles.
While a student at ECU, Knowles shared that she never would forget a dance troupe coming into class. All of them, she said, had some physical or mental disadvantage. “One man was in a wheelchair with nothing below his waist. He proved to me and the rest of the class that he could dance better on his hands and head than we could ever think about on our feet,” said Knowles. “This is what we are hoping to accomplish — to help these young people see that they can dance and dance with excitement and enthusiasm and truly express themselves while learning to feel better about themselves.”
Amanda McLamb, Mikayla’s mother stated, “I am so glad to see Mikayla take the talents God has given her and use it to help others. As a public school teacher, I see these special needs students each day and know how much they will benefit from an opportunity such as what Lori and Mikayla are attempting to do.”
For anyone that would like more information regarding The Miracle of Dance program provided by Lori Knowles and Mikayla McLamb at Lori’s School of Dance call 910-990-1406