The Fordney Foundation took on a new project this year. For the past 5 years, as you may know, the Fordney Foundation sponsored the Dancing With Our Local Schools program that was based in the Conejo Valley (Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, and Newbury Park) areas. It was so successful and touched the lives of over 4,000 elementary school children, we thought we would branch out and explore new areas. In doing that, we also thought to rename our program. We now call it DREAM, (Discover, Respect, Express, Achieve, Motivate). It was created for 4th through 12th grades students in Southern California School Districts. I’m here to tell you that the vision of Marilyn Fordney, Alex Havasi and Erica Arnold Turpin came to fruition and more than exceeded our expectations! Please read what our founder, Marilyn Fordney had to say, in her own words, so you may get the picture on just how successful these dance programs turned out when we got to experience our very first new school programs for the first time this year!
Woodlake Elementary School, Photo by Alex Havasi
Last night Alex and I attended the Woodlake showcase. It was unbelievable to see the motivation and excitement. There was standing room only. Parents and school staff are extremely supportive. Alex took photos of both Woodlake and Colfax showcases. We went to Colfax Charter Elementary school on Tuesday evening, 1/24/17 and Woodlake on Thursday evening, 1/26/17. One student (Emily Dobson) at Woodlake competes and she and her partner (Anthony Tatoosi) got up to dance and got standing ovations. After I told my story at both showcases, people came up to talk to me and thanked me for sharing it. This happened at both of the schools. At Colfax, they contacted me via email and are having a banner created as a thank you. It will be put on one of the fences that surround the school
grounds and will advertise what we do and our DREAM program. So this is a real tribute. Alex is has worked on creating the design for the banner. He inserted a muted dance photo in the background and overlayed that with wording and our logo. This is so nice of them to acknowledge us. Erica Arnold and her partner, Artemi Okunev danced at both schools at the conclusion and got lots of screams and ovation. Also, Artemi was the announcer at Woodlake and the announcer at Colfax was Principal Robyn Friedman. Principal Mario Thompson of Woodlake Elementary Community Charter came up to the microphone and gave a short speech.”
Marilyn Fordney at Colfax Charter School, Photo by Alex Havasi
As you can see, our vision turned into a DREAM come true. We are over the moon with excitement and look forward to other events happening this year. We want to thank all of the students for doing such a straight up, magnificent job performing. We are so proud of you! We also want to thank all the teachers and principals involved, your warm reception means a lot to us. Also, thank you, parents and friends, for coming to support the children. And huge “thank yous” to the lovely and talented Erica Arnold Turpin who puts it all together and makes these events happen. You were incredible along with your partner Artemi! A big shout out to Mr. Sandor “Alex” Havasi, our Assistant Director, who took all these fabulous shots. We always thank Marilyn Fordney for her love and devotion to the arts and dance and sharing it with us.
If you are able to touch one life in a positive way, you know how great that feeling is. The fact that we can interact with so many people and bring the gift of dance, music, and smiles to so many people is a testament as to why the Fordney Foundation exists. We are happy for that privilege.
Emily Dobson from Woodlake performing with Anthony Tatoosi, Photo by Alex Havasi