In December, the students in Prospect’s Afterschool and Rec program ended their semester-long dance residence with DMF Youth by sharing their accomplishments with friends and families at an unforgettable final showcase.

Wearing matching “Prospect Panthers” T-shirts—the Prospect Afterschool & Rec mascot—designed by Afterschool and Recreation Supervisor Patricia Striggles, the group proudly explained the concepts of growth mindset and kindness to their audience. They also presented their glitter jars—a fun tool that each of the students made to help them practice mindfulness.

“The meaning of the glitter jar is … you shake it up to show when you are frustrated and when all the glitter is at the bottom, that means you are calm and can see clearly. Your brain’s not clouded by frustrated emotions. When I use my glitter jar, I usually will shake it up, and I will sit on my bed, and I will just calm down,” said 12-year-old Imani.

DMF instructor Ms. Nicole hopes that the kids can use the tools, both physical and mental, that they gained through the program in their daily life.

“The biggest thing is that they learn how to navigate their feelings. If they’re having big emotions, if they want to practice mindfulness, or dance it out, or do some sort of exercise, they have the tools to handle these bigger emotions,” said Ms. Nicole.

The founder of DMF Youth, Lindi Duesenberg, also attended the event and shared a memorable conversation that she had with one of the students.

“I asked him ‘what is something that you’ve taken away?’ and he was like, ‘Well, I didn’t know what affirmations were, and now I use them every day. When I’m at school, and I’m feeling a little sad or mad, I can say it in my mind, I am smart, I am loved.’ I think that’s really important because it’s something so simple. Teaching them how to talk positively about themselves really helps give them something they can do anytime,” said Lindi.

The parents were impressed by the kids’ newfound confidence and excitement about the program.

“I like the way they have the kids showing no fear, being excited, and coming out of their shell. It is definitely a good activity for them, both for exercise and mental stimulation,” said Grandma D, who attended the event to watch her two grandkids.

They finished the show with a spectacular series of choreographed dances and a final cypher—a freestyle dance-off where students form a circle and take turns dancing in the center—a favorite all around.

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