When Kim Smith wasn't able to find a dance class for her 7-year-old autistic daughter Reagan, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“As a parent it was heartbreaking to feel like she didn’t fit in at a place that was exactly where she should have fit in,” she recalls. “I knew there had to be other parents that felt the same way.”
After finding a space at Miss Donna's School of Dance, this North Carolina mom began teaching 7 students, all of who have special needs. That is where A Chance To Dance was born.
Since 2015 her class has grown to 34 students and 10 volunteers. Catering to a variety of students with different conditions including Down Syndrome, Blindness, Dwarfism, Amputations, Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy, the dances are tailored to each student's ability.
“Between the ages of 5 and 6 I really struggled trying to find a class outside of therapies she attends where she could develop social skills with peers. The last place where she attended a special needs cheer program she would pretty much be left on the sidelines because ‘she required too much’ and they didn’t have enough volunteers although all the other children were matched with a volunteer," said Kim.
Kim gives these kids the chance to compete alongside other dancers. Recently they performed their dance routine to Singing in the Rain on stage for the first time.
“There are not enough words to express how happy we are to see her dance. The first time we watched her dance I think my husband and I cried for a full 30 minutes. She literally was shining,” said Angie Sinyard, mother of Sophia Grace who is 6 years old.
When kids with special needs get 'A Chance To Dance,' just wat...
WATCH: One mom couldn’t find a dance class that would accept her daughter. So she started ‘A Chance To Dance’ for kids with special needs… she never dreamed of how far they’d go.Posted by Today Show on Monday, April 10, 2017
“I’m a little person, but when we get on that stage, we’re all the same,” dancer Ava Whipple told Today.“It makes me feel extremely happy and big.”
SHARE this inspiring story with a friend.