Robinson Ballet’s Arts N’ Kids (ANK) program provides a positive, non-competitive after-school alternative for a broad range of children, including those with diverse behavioral issues. It uses the performing arts’ skills as tools to foster an understanding of personal identity, encourage creativity, innovative thinking, cooperative learning, and responsibility for themselves and others, which results in increased self-confidence, positive personal growth, and prepares them to make future healthy choices.
When Katie first came to ANK she was only 9 years old but presented herself as much older. She is a cute little girl who wore make up, and her dress and her behaviors would be described as provocative and sexually seductive. We obtained some confidential background information from Katie’s guidance counselor to help us understand her better and therefore figure out ways to help Katie be a 9 year old child. Katie comes from a very dysfunctional family.
Gaining Katie’s trust took some time but by her feeling accepted along the way for her positive behaviors, she began to increase those behaviors and to have fun and laugh with the other kids. She started to focus on learning the songs and dances and with each week you could see her becoming more involved in the learning but also in cooperating with the other kids. She made friends with a couple of girls who were a positive influence and she continued to choose healthy relationships in the second session. By the second session she was more familiar with the artist teachers and vice versa and she showed some confidence coming into the session which wasn’t there in the first session.
Then we noticed that her dress was more appropriate and she stopped wearing makeup. She would truly “get lost” in having fun and we saw big smiles much of the time! She was becoming a happy 9 year old child whose confidence in herself was growing. She had made the shift to a new path for her and the self esteem and confidence that we saw grow in her was amazing. She turned 10 at the end of the second session and we felt that she was well on her way to become a more positive and centered Katie. Her guidance counselor reported to us what a huge change she was seeing in Katie and from her talks with Katie, she was seeing her evolve into a more secure little girl.