The food bank will be providing nutrition to approximately 200 students in the ballet's at-risk youth program, Dance - The Next Generation (DNG) at no cost to the student or the ballet.
Ballet and dance have been the physical, emotional and intellectual outlet for young minds throughout the centuries. The traditions and beginning choreography of ballet can instill focus and discipline into the hearts and minds of often rambunctious students. And for nearly the past 25 years, Dance - The Next Generation (DNG) at the Sarasota Ballet has been such an outlet for some of Sarasota's most at-risk youth.
Founded in 1991, the program gives students ages 8 through 18 who are at-risk of dropping out of school an extracurricular outlet to express themselves and learn an art form. And with approximately 200 students currently participating in the program, the ballet fosters Sarasota's youngest minds into a brighter future. Ballet can feed the soul, but one thing it cannot nourish is an empty stomach.
To alleviate that problem and to provide more resources to DNG, the Sarasota Ballet announced it is partnering with the All Faiths Food Bank to continue supporting its students in every facet of their lives. Thanks to donor support and grants the local food bank will provide DNG's 200 students with food and nourishment at no cost to the students, their families or the ballet. The partnership will free up $10,000 in the ballet's budget that would normally go toward food to be spent on improving DNG's instruction, dance equipment and facilities and transportation.
"With any program, you must have consistency and commitment to succeed and a passion for the cause," says Iain Webb, director of the Sarasota Ballet. "We understand that we must also invite new partnerships to increase opportunities as we expand this vital program, and we are honored to have All Faiths Food Bank whose support will ensure the health and wellness of our students which is of utmost importance to both organizations.”
In addition to feeding the students of DNG and the Sarasota Ballet, the All Faiths Food Bank is one of the major centers for hunger relief in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. In 2014 the food bank distributed 7.1 million pounds of food, roughly 5.9 million meals, to local soup kitchens, churches, community centers and schools.
“We are excited about our new partnership with the Sarasota Ballet,” says Sandra Frank, CEO at All Faiths Food Bank. “This innovative collaboration introduces children to the art of dance while making sure they have the food to fuel their minds and bodies. We are grateful to the Sarasota Ballet for helping us establish new programs that align our mutual goals of giving every child in our community an opportunity to succeed.”