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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Dancing Dreams

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Dance

Mission: Dancing Dreams is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a three fold mission: 1) - to provide dance classes and performance opportunities for children ages 3-21 with medical or physical challenges 2) - to enhance leadership skills and self esteem of teens ages 13-18 3) - to provide community outreach and education in the area of disability awareness and tolerance

Programs: Provide adaptive dance classes and organized dance recitals for physically and/or medically challenged children.

Community Stories

43 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Tar-Shay W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When other dance program refused to allow my daughter to participate due to her symptoms Dancing Dreams accepted her and embraced her. They paired her with an assistance to assist her. and she was able to attend her very first Ballet recital. This was a dream come true for me and for her. We feel so blessed and honored to have participated in Dancing Dreams. We were also provided with a full scholarship. I highly recommend this program.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter Moxie joined Dancing Dreams this year and the experience was profound. Joann and her team are simply the best. The love and energy they put into this program can be seen and felt at every class, culminating with the final performance. All you need to see are the dancers smiling faces to understand how much this program means to them. I also need to mention the students who volunteer to help the dancers, these are the teens that will become the leaders of tomorrow. On top of their heavy school workloads they happily show up each week, and not only work hard with the dancers, but more importantly have fun with them. I really can’t speak highly enough of Joann and her whole Dancing Dreams Team, I love them all.

Client Served

Rating: 5

What more can I say about dancing dreams that hasn’t been said already. Everyone is who part of this amazing organization has always and forever go above and beyond to make dance class and the recital a magical time these kids will never forget. Joann and her staff have a heart of gold. We love dancing dreams and all that they stand for!

Client Served

Rating: 5

What can I say that hasn't been said? Joann and her staff have really created an amazing thing in Dancing Dreams.

I can't even express the feeling seeing my daughter onstage in the performance of "City NIghts." She is just 7 and this was her first year participating. Every week she was quite excited to practice for Dancing Dreams!

But I was totally unprepared for what I felt at the performance. I can't get the looks of joy that I saw onstage out of my mind. The dancers were given an opportunity to do something really special through Dancing Dreams. They created wonderful art through their movements. The performance of "City Nights" at York College was painfully beautiful. I can't remember being this proud, not only of my own daughter, but of all the dancers up there. It takes a lot of bravery to perform, not just for people with challenges but for anyone!

The presence and competence of the helpers was an unexpected surprise. I am really impressed that it is still possible to arrange such a selfless group of young people to spend much of their valuable time doing the hard work required in assisting the dancers. When I took my daughter to practice, these student helpers weren't sitting around texting and looking bored. On the contrary, they seemed quite engaged and my daughter formed a friendship with her helper that persisted outside the studio.

And these teens do not even get to enter the limelight, but instead dress in concealing black to better allow the dancers to shine onstage! These high schoolers even arranged a wonderful post-show party that was fun and memorable.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Excellent dance class for children with different abilities!! The teacher and staff help the students achieve their goals.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dancing Dreams is a very special place for our daughter. It's the one of the few places where she can make friends, move her body with confidence and feel like a star!! Gianni RUNS to class every Monday and looks forward to seeing her 1:1 volunteer, teachers and peers each week. We are grateful to Joann and her amazing team for such a wonderful gift!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dancing Dreams has made such an impact on my daughter's life. Besides making friends it has also helped her in her ability to socialize and to express herself through music and dance.

Chevonte W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter entered the Dancing Dreams family and has enhanced her social skills with her peers in addition to improving her motor skills. We are so proud of her and are greatly appreciative of the Dancing Dreams staff, volunteers, and helpers.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Suhani has been going to dancing dreams from almost 5 years, Joanne and all the helpers and volunteers are so wonderful and teach so selflessly it commendable. Thanks for everything you guys do.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My Daughter Suhani is 14 and has been with dancing dreams from almost 5 years, she has global developmental delays, autism Traits, and PDD NOS,
She really loves going to ballet and looks forward to it every Thursday.
Joanne is a really wonderful teacher and person,she teaches our kids selflessly and our kids have a wonderful time. All the Volunteers and helpers are the best to.

Jennifer B.20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dancing Dreams is an incredible program that gives children and young adults the confidence they need to succeed. Being a high school volunteer taught me so many invaluable lessons that I apply every day. I learned how to have someone depend on you, the importance of patience, kindness and the responsibility that you have to constantly give back. I started with Dancing Dreams in 2007 and still come back to volunteer during the recitals because I see how much heart and soul Joann puts into these productions. The hours of labor and love are just indescribable. Thank you, Joann and Dancing dreams for allowing me to remain connected to my first dancer, Natalie for nearly 10 years! It has been an absolute joy to watch her grow into the beautiful, young, confident lady she is today!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Dancing Dreams is a wonderful organization. The dancers are treated with respect and given the ability to make their dreams come alive. There are so many things that the program teaches both dancers and volunteers. My daughter was a volunteer and I saw such a positive transformation. I endorse Dancing Dreams to anyone who will listen. Joanne and her team work tirelessly to give the Dancers a platform to realize their dreams.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 9 year old daughter Tianni has been with Dancing Dreams for 5 years. Tianni has low muscle tone which led to her scoliosis due to her being born with Prader Willi Syndrome. Dancing Dreams has provided Tianni the opportunity to dance despite of her physical challenges. Dancing Dreams is a dream come true for our family!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I first read about Dancing Dreams in People magazine several years ago. Over the years, I have watched this program grow from a few dancers and helpers to the program it is today. Joann Ferrara is an amazing woman with boundless energy who pours her heart and soul into Dancing Dreams. I continue to be amazed year after year by the end of year performance and the smiles on the dancers faces, both boys and girls light up my life. There is nothing more beautiful than watching these children perform on stage, and no doubt these performances are special moments in their lives as well as the lives of their families. I have had the privilege of watching several weekday classes and have seen firsthand the progress in the children through dance movements and music. I never leave a class without a smile on my face knowing the impact this program has on the lives of these children. To Joann, the teachers, helpers, volunteers and all those involved with Dancing Dreams, you are all truly my heroes!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dancing Dreams is a dream comes through for my son Clemente who has been developing physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the last three years as part of this amazing experience. The perfect atmosphere Ms. Joan has created is welcoming, delightful, and fruitful. Every single person in this wonderful team of professionals know my son by name and treat him with the love and respect that can only emanates from pure, genuine hearts. The progress my son has made is priceless, and his confidence has improved greatly since joining the dream.
From the perspective of a loving mother With Wisdom, I can attest that this program is worthy of support, growth, and recognition. Even though the vast majority are girls, my boy has always been treated accordingly which I greatly appreciate. Seeing the smiles, and perceiving the warmth of all of the volunteers while helping our little ones, makes my heart bless them all at the speed of light.
From the perspective of an adult who faced severe physical challenges during my childhood, I perceive the environment of Dancing Dream as “Heaven on earth.” To be more clear or specific, I mean that this is a place of safety, peace, and love. A place where our children can experience the freedom to be, to become, to take ownership of their full potentials under the great guidance and leadership in which they are encouraged in perfect harmony with the heart beats that sound in one accord “You can” “You will.”

Donor

Rating: 5

Leaders know when people care about something deeply, success follows. I have never met anyone more passionate than Joann Ferrara, a pediatric physical therapist by training who founded Dancing Dreams, a charity that gives children with physical challenges a chance to fulfill their dreams to dance. It is her passion, her dedication, her sleepless nights and her dreams that enable her to turn the impossible dreams of hundreds of boys and girls into reality.

Joann’s passion is matched equally by that of her student ballerinas and teen helpers. As a result, both teacher and students thrive and hundreds of children, parents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and teens benefit from a dance experience they never thought possible. And dance they do, in a performance “extravaganza” on stage complete with costumes, makeup and glitter-- just like their friends, sisters and mothers have done.

So what if this ballerina is in a wheelchair? So what if she has braces on her legs? Joann and her cohort of teen helpers inspire these boys and girls to realize their full potential.

It’s infectious. It’s inspiring. And, it delivers results that truly make dreams come true.

Don’t take my word for it. See for yourself at www.dancingdreams.org.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first encountered Dancing Dreams while facilitating tickets for dancers attending a performance by New York City Ballet. I was so impressed by the Dancing Dreams staff, the organization and the enthusiasm of the children that upon retiring, I became an adult volunteer. Attending weekly classes for 3 years, I have seen the teachers engaging the dancers, and the dancer’s joy. Additionally, the commitment of the of the teen helpers and the genuine caring friendships they have with the dancers affirms that Dancing Dreams is providing an exceptionally valuable experience to many children.

Erica N.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter started attending Dancing Dreams in September and she loves it. She’s five and had been asking to go to a dance class for quite some time. I was so excited when I found out about this program and am very pleased with the team. They offer engaging sessions and make the kids feel so special each week.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There's no community as empowering and good-spirited as the one I've found at Dancing Dreams. I volunteered with Dancing Dreams for 3 years in high school, traveling all the way from Manhattan to Bayside, Queens for an hour each week to help my dancer, Isabel, participate in the incredible classes Joann teaches. Her energy is infectious and she brings 110% to everything she does. I have been fortunate enough to return to Dancing Dreams since graduating and volunteer when my work schedule permits. There's nothing quite as magical as watching these children get ready backstage, with nervous excitement as they wait to show their family and friends that they, too, can be ballerinas. Dancing Dreams is a special community I feel so lucky to be a part of.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was so excited when I saw the Dancing Dreams flyer in her backpack. I had been looking for an activity just like this for her. Abrianna LOVES going to dance on Mondays. She is so excited on Sunday evenings. She pops up right away on Monday morning. I call her my little tap dancing ballerina. Everyone is WONDERFUL with her. She is smiling the entire time there. We will definitely be continuing with Dancing Dreams in the future!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter Palak is a Down syndrome child. She is very loving, she loves dancing . I tried to put her in no of dance classes before but she couldn’t cope up there, then I came to know about Dancing Dreams. Dancing dreams has really provided a wonderful platform for my daughter to learn dance. Miss Joan’s selfless dedication is amazing. All the volunteers here are so dedicated and loving. The year end show is a long awaited one that increases the special needs kids’s confidence and increase their morale. I m really glad My daughter is a part of dancing dreams. She has been with DD for the past three years and enjoying dancing . I wish to be a part of it for the coming years