• Freddie Brock

Here’s What They’re Saying… DWOLS – January 31, 2015


Marilyn Fordney Receiving Award from Al Adam, Mayor of T.O.

Our Dancing With Our Local Schools Winter Showcase held at La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks was such a record breaking event on so many levels, I thought I would let “the people” tell you about it themselves.

We thank Ms. Alicia Doyle who came to our event to write about us in The Star. For those of you who can find a copy, the article is called “Dance Program Gets Kids Involved” and it appeared in the Tuesday, February 3, 2015 edition. Ms. Doyle interviewed quite a few people, and here’s what they had to say about this most memorable showcase. Julianna Alpert who is 8 years old said, “I love the swing the most because I love the turns; and I like doing the dip at the end.” Julianna happens to be the youngest student in our program. Maria Durant, the CEO of Dance 4 Wellness was interviewed and said, “We created this program to function as a non-profit so the parents in the school could have access to ballroom dance; which is usually very expensive.” Yesenia Alpert (Julianna’s mom) was also interviewed. She said, “the program is valuable in today’s economy.” A lot of kids need an outlet and dancing is very brain-stimulating.” She also said, “it’s fun and great exercise.” Erica Arnold, the lead dance instructor with Dance 4 Wellness said, “the program teaches children respect for one another and life skills. They’re learning discipline as well.” She called ballroom,


Sandra Rowlett of Westlake Hills Elementary

“a very disciplined dancesport,” and noted that the discipline learned on the dance floor carries over into school work; including homework. When student Dylan Sprout who is 15 was interviewed, he said he joined the program two years ago because he wanted to give dance a try. He stated, “I like the way they teach; it’s much more suitable for people who are younger who don’t have as much of an attention span like me.” Dylan’s mom, Diana, commented that the program has made her son more at ease with young women. “It’s also helped with respecting young ladies – he’s more proper around them.” She also said, “it’s built confidence in ways I can’t even explain.” Fordney Foundation’s founder, Marilyn Fordney said, “television programs like ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ have helped attract youngsters to the program. We have a lot of negatives around us constantly,” she added. “With bullying in schools and overeating and getting obese, it’s like a mountain these kids are facing every day, and the impact on the subconscious is very serious. There are so many positives to dancing, you can’t help but be more positive in your life.”


Joeseph Grumbine, St. Augustine Academy

Speaking of Mrs. Marilyn Fordney, we were all presently surprised when the Mayor of Thousand Oaks, Al Adam, showed up and presented Marilyn Fordney with a Certificate of Recognition from the City of Thousand Oaks for her outstanding community service. And that’s not all–Mrs. Galina Silverman presented Marilyn Fordney with a Humanitarian Award on behalf of parents and children for 2015.

Then it was my turn, I also interviewed different people through the night and had a lot of fun doing it. I met a lot of great people and here is what they had to say. My first interview was with Sandra Rowlett. Ms. Rowlett is a fifth grade teacher at Westlake Hills Elementary. I would also like to add, that Ms. Rowlett won one of our prize’s, which was dance lessons. Yay, way to go Ms. Rowlett!

Freddie Brock: What’s the one thing about this dance program you would like to share with our readers and children who will read this?

Sandra Rowlett: Dare to step outside of yourself.

FB:  What’s the most important thing about this dance experience in your opinion?

SR:  Watching the children grow emotionally. They will realize it later.  And, they had so much fun doing it, they laughed and laughed.


Mrs. Olivia Johnson, Mother of Braden Johnson of Maple Elementary

I then interviewed a student named Joseph Grumbine who is a 9th grader at St. Augustine’s Academy.

FB:  What’s the one thing you would like to share with us about this dance experience?

JG:   Kind of fun and great. We learned moves we never learned before.

FB:   Would you do it all over again?

JG:    Yes, it’s fun, but scary at first.

Meet Olivia Johnson. She is the mother of Braden Johnson.


Peter Seeley, St. Augustine Academy

FB:    What school and grade is Braden in?

OJ:    Braden is a 4th grader at Maple Elementary.

FB:    What’s the one thing that will be memorable for you as a parent about what your child experienced in this type of dance class?

OJ:     To experience and learn the art of dancing. It boosts his confidence and his interactions with others.

Let me introduce you to Peter Seeley who is in the 12th grade at St. Augustine’s Academy.

FB:     What’s the one thing you would like to share with us about this dance experience?

PS:      It’s very good to teach this lost art.

FB:      Would you do it all over again? Why?

PS:      Yes, it does take patience and time. It is a very rewarding experience.



Dr. Michael Bates, Head of La Reina High School

Last, but not least, I interviewed Dr. Michael Bates, Head of La Reina High School.

FB:      What is the one thing about this dance program you would like to share with our readers and children who will read this?

PS:       What a terrific opportunity to gather as a community this is, celebrating life while dancing and smiling with our schools.

FB:       What’s the most important thing about this dance experience in  your opinion?

PS:        So much of our world experience is on the negative. Tonight we showcased talent, joy and so much of what is good about our world!

I couldn’t agree with Dr. Bates more. This is just a prelude to the whole night’s wonderful Winter Showcase that took place on January 31, 2015. Stay tuned for my future blog on the whole DWOLS experience where 250 students were involved, not to mention, their family, friends, teachers, principals and many more people who came to this community event, to see them dance!

Thought Of The Week:

With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.    –   Wayne Dyer

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