Elmhurst Park District Dance presented their first ever Dance Holiday Magic event on Sunday, December 2. From Suzy Snowflakes to an appearance from Santa, there were many festive performances, which the dancers had been working on throughout the fall.
Katie Loveless, Dance Education Coordinator and Impact Dance Company Director brainstormed the event last spring.
“Parents were telling me that they wanted to see their children dance more often,” she says, “The support from our community and dancers was more than we could have hoped for!”
The dancers wanted to show their support to their community as well.
“We wanted it to be a truly fun, community-focused experience for the dancers and their families and to have it include an element that benefits the community outside of the dance program,” said Susan Smentek, Cultural Arts Program Supervisor.
Several members of the Impact Senior Dancers participate in the youth group at Elmhurst Presbyterian Church, which houses one of the Elmhurst Public Action to Develop Shelters site (PADs). So the idea of collecting items needed by PADs guests was born.
“Even Santa filled his pack with toothpaste, soaps and shampoos for the donation drive,” Smentek said.
Emily Culella, Director of Children's Education and Youth Ministry at Elmhurst Presbyterian Church, attended the event and thanked EPD dance families for their generosity.
“I was so blessed to see all the kids, parents, grandparents and friends, bringing bag after bag of socks and soap and toothpaste,” Culella said.
DuPage PADs offers Interim Housing for the homeless. These sites are at a different location each night with support from volunteers, with Elmhurst Presbyterian Church hosting on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. With the help of volunteers from five area churches, they provide approximately 40 guests with dinner, shelter, breakfast, clothing and toiletries.
“Our guests will directly benefit from the kindness shown by the EPD family,” Culella said.