Helping foster kids through dance

Misty’s Dance Unlimited in Onalaska is helping out the community in a pretty unique way.

The academy wants to give foster kids an opportunity to experience what it’s like to dance.

For some kids, being able to afford dance lessons isn’t a possibility, so Misty Lown, the owner of the academy, decided to do something about it.

“Dance is beneficial in so many ways,” Lown said.

She wants to use dance to give back to the community.

“For me, creating access for all kids to participate is everything,” Lown said.

So she’s opening up her studio to 12 foster kids and letting them dance free of charge.

“We know that participating in extracurricular activities is very important for a child’s development,” Lown said.

Lown is hoping to teach the kids the value of hard work and dedication.

“We’re hoping that the kids, whether they participate for one month or one year, that they will take the strengths of that discipline and that regular commitment to something to their life when they leave,” Lown said.

Lown said she wouldn’t be where she is today without the help of others.

“When I grew up I had a lot of people who helped me to be able to achieve what I wanted to and it’s our great privilege and responsibility to pay that forward,” Lown said.

Now, thanks to Lown, the children can feel like they’re part of a new community.

Tita Yutuc, the president and CEO of Family and Children’s Center, said,”They’re experimenting with new things that they’ve never done before and activities that give them true joy and a newfound sense of belonging.”

For these kids, who’ve been through a lot, it’s nice to be treated like a princess. But even if you don’t believe in fairy tales there’s no denying Misty is tapping into something special.

“Misty’s Dance Unlimited opening their doors, helping them do that and have that experience, it’s really just, it’s a blessing,” Yutuc said.

“We want to teach them to get up when they fall down and to finish what they start. We know that most of the kids won’t go on and become professional dancers, but we know those skills that they learn here through dance will last them a lifetime,” Lown said.

The 12 kids participating in the program range in age from two years old to kids in elementary school.

In addition to the free dance lessons, all of their outfits and shoes were provided free of charge.

The children got to choose the style of dance they wanted to learn.

They picked tap dancing, ballet and hip-hop.