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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Pure Ballroom Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Arts Services

Mission: Our mission is to empower students through education, engagement and motion, while instilling important social emotional learning skills to help students thrive physically, mentally, socially and emotionally throughout their lifetime.

Target demographics: Students Pre-K through College.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1750 students in 82 classrooms across 14 schools

Geographic areas served: Great Pittsburgh Area

Programs: The E.S.T.E.E.M. Group, which uses yoga, fitness and dance to meet students where they are and challenge them to grow and develop social emotional learning skills that are important to thrive in life. This program empowers students through education, engagement and motion.

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

My granddaughter had an amazing experience with this program. She would talk about all the fun things she learned and she has shown us how her yoga has helped her to calm down and make better decisions. I could not ever imagine how a 4 year old would learn so many amazing life lessons from yoga, fitness and dance.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am proud to be a donor for Pure Ballroom Inc.! They do such amazing work with the kids in our area. I hope that more people realize how important the work they do is to the future of our communities. Social Emotional Learning is so important, especially during these times.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This program is top notch! My students absolutely loved ballroom dancing and grew leaps and bounds from where they started. This group does such a great job teaching not just dance , but the things that really matter, like how we treat one another and having a positive growth mindset when faced with new challenges and obstacles. I am very fortunate to have gotten to work alongside this group and watch them scaffold instruction and accommodate student needs at every step. This nonprofit is a blessing and Banksville K-5 is incredibly thankful and fortunate to have this partnership!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has enjoyed this program for the past two years in her pre-school. She has not only learned to skip, gallop, jump on one foot, do correct jumping jacks and other fitness milestones, but she has learned how to give meaningful compliments, calm herself through yoga and breathing and she has learned how to be respectful and helpful to others. I cannot say enough amazing things about this program. I am truly grateful my daughter had the opportunity to participate and experience this with her friends and teachers.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Every year our fifth grade students participate in Pure Ballroom. We believe Gena has the perfect program - teamwork in the form of dance. Our students come into the gymnasium knowing nothing about the ballroom dances and her team have fun cues and with their success come smiles.

1 Jennifer M.25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This program is truly amazing and changing young lives every day! I have had the pleasure of seeing it first hand!It teaches children self control, confidence, fitness, teamwork, respect for others and for themselves! Dance, yoga, fitness and team building are the means of teaching these valuable tools! It is fun for everyone! We are so fortunate to have a program like this in our hometown of Pittsburgh!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our students in Wilkinsburg are constantly looking forward to their lessons with the ESTEEM Group! Ms. Gena and Ms. Katherine are wonderful, patient teachers who are extremely passionate about what they do. Every single one of our fourth and fifth grade students are engaged throughout class-from the warm up to their reflection at the end. Even our most skeptical student loves coming to class and learning the new dances. This group has not only taught our students new dances, but also respect, motivation, patience, and teamwork. We will absolutely be asking them to return next year!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The ESTEEM group came into work with my fourth grade class this year. Ms. Gena and Ms. Katherine were awesome! The kids really took to them and looked forward to our weekly "dance" class. At first they were a bit hesitant, however they quickly became excited to see what the ladies had planned for the next session. I enjoyed watching the kids come out their shells as the sessions went on. Kids that don't normally work together got a chance to motivate each other and cheer each other on. My students loved each and every second of this program and were upset when it was over. Great job ladies and I hope to have this back in our school next year.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The ESTEEM group came into work with my Pre-K classroom, and we loved every minute. The excitement the kids had for their sessions with Ms. Gena and Ms. Brenda was contagious! The ladies were amazing with the kids. They encouraged them, and helped our class work together more as a team. Their upbeat personalities made each session something to look forward to!! We cannot wait to work with them again.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Gena and her team at the ESTEEM Group are amazing! They worked with my class of 26 students and managed to have all the students actively engaged and focused! The students learned team work and calming strategies that they have been able to apply in the classroom. We work in groups in our classroom often and the students have used the team building strategies they learned during their sessions to resolve conflicts and work together. When I observed how amazingly the students responded to yoga as a tool to get their bodies under control and focus their minds, I began using the same strategies in my classroom when we needed to do just that. My students loved every second of this program and my only complaint would be that I want Gena at our school everyday, all year long!!! Gena even came and did a professional development session with our staff, which helped us with our self care, using yoga. This session was extremely beneficial. I could not say enough about how essential this program is to our school.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Gene and her team are absolutely the best! My Kindergarten students look forward to the ESTEEM group every week. I love how they teach the kids self control and how to work together. I love joining in with my students to show them that everyone can participate. My students take what they learn from the ESTEEM group and apply it to the classroom environment. We talk about body control when we are around others and it has helped tremendously. This program is so needed in every school!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

So many people say, “We’ve got to do something about this” but fail to step up. Gena and her team at The ESTEEM Group have done that and more. At first glance, it may just look like dancing and yoga. But, I’ve watched our K, 2nd, and 4th grade students grow as a class community and as individuals. Students who were reluctant to try because they didn’t know how, or felt they would be laughed at for not being good, learned that everyone is a learner at some point. Persistence pays off. Encouragement goes far. Have fun with others. This is the practical, day by day social emotional learning that our students need. The proof was the performances for parents who are even more reluctant! Students gave the same encouragement and step by step directions as they had been given. The transfer we look for. I can’t wait for the rest of our students to participate this year!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

In my 20-year career I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly as far as social and educational programming goes. Pure Ballroom is a fantastic organization that is at the top of my list, and I am proud to be associated with it! Gena is a mission-driven leader who brings the perfect synthesis of dancing, teaching, and managerial experience to the organization. She is supported by a group of passionate, creative, and dedicated teaching artists. Pure Ballroom’s programing develops a student’s self-esteem, self-control, and various social skills. It is critical to support organizations like Pure Ballroom, since they work to support the health and wellness of our youth and communities.

1 Deborah D.3

Donor

Rating: 5

Exercise! Moving! Dancing! Yoga pretzels and Ballroom steps!

Muscle toning, heart strengthening, adrenaline pumping, perspiration dripping!

Motivating, inspiring, enlightening, exiting, engaging, calming, Ice breaking!

Comforting, connecting, supporting, acquainting, conversing, friendship making!

Self confidence building, self esteem fueling, self image sparkling!
Cha Cha! Rumba! Salsa! Jive!

All of the above are incredible gifts to the children of Pittsburgh Public Schools thanks to the vision, passion, dedication and commitment of Gena Melago and her The ESTEEM Group.

My daughter loves her job as Teaching Artist! Through her love and experience with dance, she can encourage a smile, teach a dance, and maybe even inspire a new passion.

Thank you to the ESTEEM Group!
Every school in America needs you!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been supporting Pure Ballroom Inc. since the inception of The E.S.T.E.E.M. Group program. I could not be more proud of the hard work and dedication the staff have to each and every school and student. They take the time to hear what the needs of the school are and they do their best to make sure that those needs are being met. I will continue to volunteer and support Pure Ballroom Inc. well into the future as it is a cause that is truly worth it.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's hard not to smile when you see The ESTEEM Group working with children in the Pittsburgh area. I have had the opportunity to spend my time with the organization and watch it grow (at an amazingly fast rate) for the past year. The program is beneficial not only to the children, but also the staff, family and community members of the areas served. The most rewarding part of the program is when a child says they are more confident in themselves.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this organization. Gena and her entire staff run an amazing school-wide program. From start to finish, they are a fun, energetic, and professional group that keep the students physically active and engaged the entire time. We couldn't be happier with the way the program has run in our school this year. The variety of activities, ranging from yoga, dance, team building, and fitness, find a way to reach the needs and interests of each and every student. The team-building and social/emotional based lessons have done wonders for individual students' self-esteem and overall class cohesion. My students are excited to come to class to see what they are doing next. While in class they are positively working and interacting with all the other students without complaining. We love having the E.S.T.E.E.M. group in our school and cannot wait for next year.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Truly a 5 Star organization. The staff is professional and tailors the curriculum to meet specific grade level and individual student needs. Our students were immediately engaged and responsive to the program's goals. The skills and mindfulness activities taught within are easily applied throughout the school environment. Students experienced positivity, success, and showed a transformation while they participated and far after the program ended for the remainder of the school year.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Horrible, un-professional, boring, and lackluster are words that I would NEVER use to describe Pure Ballroom! This is a wonderful program that helps build self-esteem while helping students become active! Through this program I have noticed clear and immediate changes in students. Students that were fidgety became calmer, quiet students became more confident, and students that were always excited and looking forward to their next visit of Pure Ballroom. This innovative and intuitive program looks at the needs of the classroom, the student, and the teacher and adapts their curriculum and targets these specific needs. Through the use of Yoga, mindfulness, dance, teambuilding, and self-awareness students transform and become better individuals. This is a wonderful program that will not disappoint!! ~SJFL

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Having lived in Pittsburgh for the past 12 years, I can say that I have seen very few programs in the area with such invested staff and such a community impact. Thank you Pure Ballroom Inc.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has the best programming for students in all of the Pittsburgh area. I have been giving my time to Pure Ballroom Inc., 3 times a week, for over a year now, and I can see the difference it is making; not just in the students’ lives, but in their families’ lives as well. The program enhances all aspects of their education using music and movement, which is unfortunately now lacking in most schools. This is something that the students and school staff really love, and so do all of the Pure Ballroom Inc. staff and volunteers.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have observed the program in several classrooms and I saw that the children had learned so much in such a short time. It is amazing at how they listen, pay attention and respond so well to the directions of what is expected of them. The children are very happy while they are participating in this program. The teachers from the school that I observed were very pleased and impressed with the program as well as the behaviors their children have shown as a result of the program.