Jill Roberts established a free after-school dance program in 1999 and ran it successfully under a non-profit organization for 12 years. In late 2011, the funding priorities of that organization changed so the dance program was brought to the DEA Educational Foundation where it resides today under the name DEA Youth Dance Program.
The after-school dance program created and managed by Roberts has grown to be the most successful after-school dance program in the United States positively influencing thousands of students each year by providing the healthy outlet of dance. Roberts, a former professional dancer, authority in after-school programs and drug education won the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama in 2009, in part, because of the dance program and her commitment to kids.
Fast Facts about the DEA YDP:
- Students participate in a professional designed free curriculum.
- The DEA YDP funds a limited number of scholarships to students wishing to continue dance education at a local studio in their city.
- The DEA YDP is committed to community service and volunteer programs, as well as a council for parents’ involvement.
- Students who have been through the program previously and have been involved in a scholarship program, have been asked to go back to their old schools or previous grade to assist with student teaching.
- Professional training programs in administration, classroom skills and safety are provided to DEA YDP dance instructors.
- A $25 donation pays for one child to attend the 10-week program at no cost.
- A $5,350 donation will pay for an entire program for a year at a school, including scholarships and instructor training.
- The DEA YDP Program begins at a participating school with an assembly led by a professional company. The professional company demonstrates different styles of dance to appropriate musical choices, speaks to the students as role-models, and asks students volunteers to try out movement during the performance hour.
- Students may then elect to register for a free 20-week dance class series led by a professional dance instructor.
- At the end of 20 weeks, students perform in a community or school performance setting, bringing family and other students together.
- Students are encouraged to apply for scholarship at a local studio for the long-term study in dance.
Students targeted to participate in the program are primarily in upper elementary and middle school years.
Classroom goals include incorporating positive themes such as:
- Participating in positive alternatives to drugs and gang violence
- Building of self-esteem, teamwork
- Resisting negative peer pressure
- Focusing on positive health and attitude
The new DEA YDP kicked off in Washington, DC and Los Angeles in the Spring of 2012. Since then, programs have been added in the following cities: Annapolis, MD, Arlington, VA, Aurora, IL, Austin, TX, Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, Houston, TX, Jersey City NJ, Kennett Square, PA, Philadelphia, PA, Long Beach, CA, New York, NY, Oaklawn, IL, Port Huron, MI, Shepardtown, WV, Auburn, WA and Seattle, WA, Pacific Grove, CA.
Dance Company Partners
A major part of the DEA YDP is working with these leading Dance Companies and organizations.
Washington, DC/Bethesda, MD
EPIK Dance Company
Joy of Motion Dance Center
- Rhythmic Glow
Pacific Grove/Monterey Peninsula
- Culture Shock
Los Angeles, CA
- Culture Shock
- Hip Hop ConnXion
- Auburn Dance Academy
- Massive Monkees
Anticipated Future Dance Company Participation: Culture Shock Chicago and San Diego, Dragonfly and Terrance Taps
Corporate Sponsors and Donors
Donors, Sponsors and Fundraising:
The DEA YDP extends its thanks and appreciation to the following organizations and individuals who have contributed to the success of the program.
Donors and Sponsors:
- Anchor Free
- The Arts Council for Monterey County
- Dizzy Feet Foundation
- The Gregory and EJ Milken Foundation
- General Mills Foundation
- Numerous private donors
The DEA YDP is pleased to be an approved participant with Global Giving, a nonprofit organization that connects donors with grass roots projects around the world to make a high impact. To contribute to the YDP, please visit our page on their site.
If your company is interested in donating to or sponsoring the DEA YDP, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look Who’s Talking
Here are some quotes in response to asking students this question: What the DEA YDP did for them personally:
“Learn how to dance.”
“To stay drug-free.”
“Help me make friends.”
“Let me have a good time.”
“Help me express my feelings.”
“It showed me how to dance.”
“It helped me know how to fight drugs.”
“Helped me know to resist drugs.”
“Let me express my feelings.”
“Keeps me healthy.”
“Help me so I don’t drink and smoke when I get older.”
“Taught me to stay healthy.”
“It gave me hope.”
“It gave me a foundation even though I have no intention to do drugs.”
“Make me a better person.”
“They encourage us not to give up”
“Made me feel confident!”
“It helped me get fit.”
“Know how to dance.”
September 2013 – DEA Youth Dance Program Expands to Arizona…
August 2013 – DEA Youth Dance Program Receives Award.
December 2012 – Glamour Magazine selected the DEA YDP as one of their featured non-profits in their 31 Days of Giving profile.
May 16, 2012 – Youth Dance Program Launch
Jill L. Roberts
Director of DEA YDP and Youth Executive Council Member
New York, New Jersey and Boston Regional Manger
Chicago and Washington D.C. Metro Regional Manager and Development Consultant
California and Michigan Regional Manager and Project consultant
Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston, Philadelphia and West Virginia Regional Manager
Evaluation, Community Service, Marketing
DEA Educational Foundation
Youth Dance Program