BY BRANDY TEMPLETON
Statesville Dance & Performing Arts is giving back again. For the holiday season, owner and dance instructor Laura Hanson has organized an effort to help local children and support the military.
“Throughout the year we give back,” Hanson said. “We are teaching the kids to give back. We strive to be a studio of giving back to the community as much as we can.”
In November, the studio held a successful canned food drive for Iredell COAST Ministries.
For the holidays, the dance studio is helping in two ways: They are collecting new toys for Fifth Street Ministries and sending Christmas cards to members of the armed forces.
The toy drive idea came from Hanson’s friend, Will Long, who works with Fifth Street Ministries. Last year, he told Hanson about the ministry.
“I had the pleasure of getting a tour,” Hanson shared. “It’s a great thing they have going on there.”
Due to COVID-19, Fifth Street has had to scale back its fundraising efforts.
“I just wanted to do something to make a difference.”
New, unwrapped toys are requested to help the children served by the nonprofit. The toys requested are for all genders and ages.
Holiday Cards for Service Members
The card idea came from a dance mom, Jennifer DiFiore, who she shared a letter from N.C. State Superintendent of Schools Mark Johnson. He began a “Holiday Cards for our Service Members Drive.”
Johnson said that service members enjoy hearing from students. The children are asked to share about themselves, their activities, and their traditions.
Cards can be either homemade or store-bought and addressed “Dear Service Member.”
Unsealed cards are to have the child’s first name, school, and hometown.
In a last push, cards can be donated to the studio from 4-8 p.m. on December 17.
“It’s nice to receive messages from kids,” Hanson said.
Hanson is hoping that all 200 of her dancers will contribute, and she welcomes others from the community to also give.
“I wish all would contribute— that would be great,” she said.
The letters are placed in a special mailbox right next to the studio’s Christmas tree.
“Students can drop their own cards in,” Hanson said. “The box is overflowing.”
All toys and cards will be collected by Friday, December 18.
If you or anyone would like to donate or send a card, call 704-380-3012 or www.statesvilledance.com.