Tuesday, October 23 , 2018, 3:55 pm | Fair 73º


Partners in Education Volunteer Katelyn Carano Helps Students Hoop It Up

UCSB student and hoop dancer connects with Brandon School kids to help them with P.E. class

[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by Community West Bank, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]

Katelyn Carano first connected with Santa Barbara Partners in Education, a nonprofit organization administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office, after receiving an email from a Partners in Education volunteer manager who was seeking someone to teach third-graders dance as part of their P.E. requirement.

      |  Partners in Education President’s Council Series |  Complete Series Index  |

Carano, a UC Santa Barbara student, is a trained hoop dancer and has performed with several groups at circus shows and festivals. Sharing her love of hoop dance through both performing and teaching is her passion.

“I knew with a little variation, hooping would be a great way for the kids to have fun and get some time exercising” she said.

UCSB student Katelyn Carano believes she herself has benefited from the time spent teaching hoop dancing to third-graders. “In addition to building my patience and helping me learn to explain hoop moves better, the kids’ creativity was inspiring and helped take the dance to new places,” she says. (Santa Barbara Partners in Education photo)

With Carano’s guidance over the past four months, third-grade P.E. students at Brandon School in the Goleta Union School District learned basic hoop tricks, dance choreography, rhythm, timing, coordination and self-discipline. They also discovered a way to have fun and be creative in an active environment.

What Carano enjoys most about volunteering with children is having the opportunity to teach students a new form of physical exercise.

“Dance is great because I get to take them out of the classroom setting and I can see on their faces how much they enjoy it,” she said.

“Younger students build up so much rambunctious energy while sitting in the classroom all day, and it’s important to get them out for some structured playtime.”

Carano has also noticed that younger “hoopers” never say, “I can’t do it.”

“I think that’s why younger kids tend to pick up on hoop dance faster than older kids or adults!” she exclaimed. “They have such enthusiasm to try new things.”

After her instruction time at the campus was finished each week, she would give the children the chance to practice on their own. It’s during that time, Carano notes, when the best moments happen.

“I had shown the group how to do a kick start to get their hoop up off the ground,” she explained. “They took this move and started adding cartwheels and backbends! Their creativity never ceases to amaze me.

“The kids were able to teach me about as much as I could teach them. In addition to building my patience and helping me learn to explain hoop moves better, the kids’ creativity was inspiring and helped take the dance to new places.”

Volunteers like Carano exemplify some of the creative ways volunteers can give back to their community. Partners in Education works to fill the needs of classrooms with the special skills of volunteers.

“Partners in Education is really great about connecting the university to the local schools in town,” Carano said.

Reflecting on the importance of her volunteer work, she added, “As a young person, my own dance teachers were very influential for me. As a volunteer, I try to relay the same values I’ve learned from my own classes. I want kids to know it’s important to never stop learning and to never say no to a challenge.”

When asked why she made the time to do teach each week she replied simply, “At the end of every session, it’s just great to see the kids walk away with smiles on their faces. It makes me smile, too.”

Carano, a San Diego native, recently completed her sophomore year at UCSB, where she is majoring in psychology. She works with a company called The Little Guest doing hoop dance parties for children. She also teaches hoop dance classes for adults at the UCSB Recreation Center.

                                                                  •        •        •

Santa Barbara Partners in Education is a nonprofit 501(c)3 administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Partners programs include a Volunteer Recruitment program serving K-12 public schools and nonprofit organizations; a Paid Job Readiness Training & Internship program for deserving high school students; and Computers for Families, a program working to close the digital divide.

» Click here to volunteer with Partners in Education, or call 805.964.4710 x4401.

» Connect with Partners in Education on Facebook. Follow Partners in Education on Twitter: @sbpartnersined.

» For other inquiries, contact internship program and communications coordinator Chelsea Duffy at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

      |  Partners in Education President’s Council Series |  Complete Series Index  |

— Jenae Jeppesen works with Santa Barbara Partners in Education.

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