Tuesday, May 31 , 2016, 6:34 am | Fog/Mist 57º

‘In Shape, Inspired, In Service’: World Dance for Humanity Marks 4 Years

By Janet Reineck for World Dance for Humanity |

During the past four years, Santa Barbara-based World Dance for Humanity has evolved from a weekly exercise/dance class with a few devoted members to a thriving community of hundreds of dancers and supporters in Santa Barbara and beyond.

The model is unusual — and impactful. Participants dance to release, refresh, stay in shape, connect with the world and change lives. Supporters include dancers and nondancers worldwide who are interested in helping communities in need through small, grassroots, sustainable aid projects.

In 2013, it raised $108,925 through class fees, general donations and Thriller. With this, World Dance was able to make donations totaling $57,460 for livestock and school sponsorships to the 14 communities that the organization is serving in Rwanda and to secure $18,079 for 2014 projects.

Each year it also supports a local charity to help people in need in Santa Barbara through class contributions, donations, “Soulbiscuit” dance parties, and Thriller — an annual gathering of 200-plus of dancers to perform the iconic dance at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens as part of a worldwide event.

Last spring, World Dance was among the first groups to respond to the plight of the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics by donating $5,000 to help get their fundraising efforts off the ground. They involved the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria Boys & Girls Clubs in Thriller and were able to contribute $3,560 to their scholarship funds. They also reached directly into the community, bringing moments of joy and caring to homeless, retired and disabled communities during their Holiday Dance Outreach.

During the past four years, the nonprofit organization has brought assistance to Guatemala, Nepal, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Liberia. In 2013, it turned its international focus to Rwanda and inherited the projects begun by Goats for Life, a local nonprofit that had been doing life-saving work in Rwanda for six years. GFL Founder Betsy Kain was ready to retire, and asked to World Dance to carry on her legacy.

For $45, WD4H can provide a goat that will sustain a family. The goats produce manure that greatly increases crop yield and the goat gives birth to four kids a year that can be sold for cash that is used to pay for food, school, and healthcare. World Dance is also donating milk goats that can be bred with the local, non-milk producing goats to create future generations of milk goats that will help sustain the communities. For $1,000, they can donate a full grown, pregnant cow that provides milk and fertilizer to support a whole community.

World Dance for Humanity donated a total of $57,460 for livestock and school sponsorships to the 14 communities they are serving in Rwanda, providing:

» 118 student sponsorships — primary, secondary and college
» Business training for six Kigali coops
» 20 goats for Abakundana Cooperative (Twa — pygmies in the Southwest)
» 20 goats for Twirererabana (unwed mothers in the north)
» 24 goats for Tubehotwese (poor farmers in the northeast)
» 25 goats for Icerechezo (poor farmers in the east)
» 40 goats for Abadacogora (widows and orphans in the Kigali area)
» 44 goats for Never Again Group No. 6
» 53 goats for new members of Tubehotwese
» 1 goat shed for Abadacogora (widows and orphans in the Kigali area)
» 2 milk goats for Joy Cooperative (women genocide survivors in Kigali area)
» 1 milk goat for Their Tomorrow Cooperative (orphans in the Kigali area)
» 110 solar lights for our cooperatives
» 45 mattresses for the Twa
» 2 cows for Never Again Fellowship (Hutu, Tutsi and Twa)
» 1 cow for Abishyizehamwe (united people)

In 2013, World Dance also secured $18,079 for its 2014 work in Rwanda, to include:

» Following the progress of 118 primary, secondary and college students we are supporting
» Providing livestock to the communities its serves so that each family has a source of income
» Offering business and agriculture training to the cooperatives
» Helping each cooperative establish a business that sustains them as a group and provides meaningful work and a vision and focus for the members

The mission of World Dance for Humanity is to bridge cultures through movement and to help people in need by supporting small, sustainable, grassroots projects locally and in the developing world. All charitable donations and class fees go to underserved communities where a small amount of money can inspire hope, change lives and deep connections can be developed to the people it serves. World Dance is an all-volunteer organization.

Click here to learn more about the local class schedule and its humanitarian aid work. Contact executive director and dance instructor Janet Reineck, Ph.D., at 805.966.5439 or [email protected].

— Janet Reineck is the executive director and a dance instructor for World Dance for Humanity.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.