Devon Lewis has been our longest standing volunteer with The Dance Ability Movement, she has been through it all since the program began! She is an exemplary role model for all dancers, inside the studio and out. Devon’s heart and passion is poured into each and every dance class she takes. We are so proud of the young lady she has become and the significant impact she has already had on this world. If you have had the pleasure of getting to know Devon, you know just how special she is! She truly makes a beautiful connection with all of her dancing friends and buddies. She lights up the stage when she is performing, and she knows how to shine the light on others to showcase their best and provide them with opportunities to be the star!
We cannot thank her enough for the countless hours she has contributed to The Dance Ability Movement (probably over 700 hours!) and for helping to shape the culture of what the program is today. We acknowledged Devon’s keen interest for further learning and invested in her future with The Dance Ability Movement by providing her with the opportunity to become a certified assistant dance instructor with Rhythm Works Integrative Dance. It is people like Devon who inspire us to continue reaching out to educate the youth of today to be leaders in accessibility and inclusion in their communities, because we have seen the impact it has on dancers, families, studios, and the community at large.
Devon has graduated from High School and is now pursuing a university degree in Cognitive Neuroscience with aspirations to one day become a Speech Language Pathologist. We wish her all the best in her studies and know that she will forever be a part of The Dance Ability Movement family and will continue to change the world! Congratulations Devon on all of your accomplishments so far, and THANK YOU!!
We asked Devon to reflect on her past involvement with The Dance Ability Movement, and we couldn’t have asked for a better response. Enjoy this beautifully written piece from Devon!
“When someone asks me what the best life advice I could give is, I always say “cheer on the underdog.” We are all born as equals, but when thought to be unable to succeed or given a lesser status by society, one may begin to feel weaker than the rest. By cheering on the so called underdog, we see something good in everyone. Through a positive lens we can see the strength, ability, talent, success, and everything in between, of a person. We see people for who they are. We see people for people. This advice stems from one of the biggest learning experiences and the most positive influence I’ve faced, the Dance Ability Movement.
I grew up dancing at Dance Elite in Milton, and when I was only ten years old I began volunteering for the new inclusive dance program, Dance Ability. I will never forget my first class. In an environment full of positive vibes, acceptance, and an overwhelming amount of high energy, I was hooked. I’ve been hooked for the past eight years and as I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that this program is much more than a volunteer position. Dance has always been one of my biggest passions, so sharing it with people who are equally as passionate with a huge desire to learn is what I love the most. I’ve watched our dancers who have stuck it through since the beginning grow as both dancers and people. I’ve seen many volunteers create relationships with their dance buddies, their buddies families and each other. I’ve seen our teachers try new things and pass their knowledge onto everyone around them. Finally, I’ve seen this program skyrocket into it’s own little community. I have nothing but pride for how far everyone has come, and I can only imagine how much further we will all go!
This summer I was given the opportunity to teach our weekly classes, and as strange as it was to be at the front of the class, both for me and my buddies, I loved every second of it. I can honestly say that Dance Ability has helped shape me into the person I am today. I would never have been able to lead a class without being given the confidence and knowledge through this program. I’ve learned so much on a vast spectrum from dancing with such amazing people which is why I encourage anyone to put themselves out there and volunteer for Dance Ability. Volunteering has helped me grow up while still being able to feel like a kid, helped create lasting relationships with everyone a part of this amazing community and helped me find my path in life. I’m going to university to become a speech-language pathologist, and if it weren’t for Dance Ability, I would never have been introduced to or interested in this field of work. Volunteering isn’t always easy, but it is always a learning experience. Each class has something to laugh about, something to learn from and something to be proud of. I’m beyond thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given to teach, to be taught and to be a part of this community, and I could only wish the same experience for everyone in this program.
The Dance Ability Movement has something special to offer the world and is the finest example of a safe and inclusive space to be free to express yourself. Here, there are no underdogs. We are all equal, we are all human and we all love to dance. I have nothing but gratitude for this program and everyone involved, and I can’t wait to see the next generation of dancers, volunteers and teachers take flight on a journey through dance!”
— Devon Lewis, age 18
Volunteer at Dance Elite, June Lawrence School of Dance (and soon to be Ballare Studio Dance!)
*Important Disclaimer: stories are shared with the intention of promoting an inclusive society and increasing knowledge and awareness of our community. Views expressed are not representative of all participants and may not be indicative of your potential experiences.