Urban Vision’s In His Steps ballet program hosts Christmas show
The young ballerinas anxiously took the stage last weekend at youth outreach ministry Urban Vision, an opportunity they would not have had otherwise, as many of these girls come from low-income refugee and minority families in North Hill.
The “In His Steps” ballet program recently offered its first Christmas performance to the community, and is one of a number of programs provided by Urban Vision, which ministers to neighborhood children through after-school educational programs, financial literacy, healthy living education and other holistic means.
“In our community, arts aren’t always accessible to young girls,” says Evelina Seifert, assistant to the director for Urban Vision, who adds that few girls in the North Hill neighborhood have the opportunity to take dance and ballet classes because of setbacks like cost and transportation, not to mention cultural barriers.
The 50 ballerinas between 1st and 7th grade, many of them from African-American and East Asian refugee families, performed twirls and pliés onstage in Urban Vision’s sanctuary to a packed house that was nothing short of enthusiastic.
“Also, it’s worship dance,” adds Seifert. “My goal is to use uplifting music that points the girls toward God.”
The grassroots ministry, led by Rodney Matthews, has operated in North Hill for more than a decade and reaches hundreds of neighborhood children. The program offers empowerment rather than entitlement. For example, rather than simply receiving handouts, participants in Urban Vision’s programs earn shopping credits, which can be used to buy school supplies, clothes, household items and other goods.
Volunteers at Urban Vision also offer arts education (like the ballet program) along with mentoring these young people, many of whom struggle with a number of language and cultural barriers, along with economic disadvantage. North Hill is home to 28 different languages in a five-block radius, and many residents live below the poverty threshold, according to the organization.
To volunteer or donate, or to sponsor a child, visit www.urbanvisionministry.org.