Lindi Duesenberg is the founder and Executive Director of DMF Youth, a nonprofit that promotes a socio-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum through dance-based lessons. DMF Youth provides weekly classes in dance, meditation, and wellness at Prospect Afterschool.
WHAT MAKES DMF YOUTH LESSONS UNIQUE?
Rather than just a dance program or a sports program or a tutoring program, where life skills and socio-emotional skills are sort of a byproduct of programming, we build those tenants into our actual programming. We’re dedicating time, not just through dance, but through activities and arts and power talks that delve into topics like goal setting, mindfulness, the power of affirmations, gratitude, and kindness.
WHY DO YOU USE DANCE TO TEACH THESE TOPICS?
Dance is sort of our gateway to introducing these concepts. If we’re working on being brave, we’ll introduce a step that’s really challenging. Then afterwards, we’ll talk about it. What was it like when you couldn’t get that step? We teach the kids that with effort and determination and grit, that they can get better at something.
HOW DO THE KIDS AT PROSPECT REACT TO YOUR LESSONS?
They love it. The moment we get there, they are so excited to see us. We’ve also seen so much growth. Some of the little ones that we had a few years ago are now the bigger kids and they’re now leaders and little role models in our program.