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Meet Elliana Kim of Always Dancing Project in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elliana Kim.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Elliana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
In middle school, I was apart of the leadership team and they encouraged us to volunteer in our community. One of the places I found was Reimagine OC. It is a non-profit organization that helps adults and children with developmental disabilities. I started to volunteer with the children’s program there during the summers and breaks from school. While I was there, I helped the children during speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. I helped with arts and crafts, hand motions during singing, and physical movement. I also helped feed them and was an extra pair of eyes to watch what they were doing. However, because of the pandemic, I was not able to volunteer this summer. I wanted to do something for them because I was unable to go into Reimagine and physically be with them.

I am also a dancer and have been dancing since I was three years old. Zoom dance classes became popular and took a few with my dance team. This gave me the idea to start free zoom dance classes for the children at Reimagine so that I could do something for them while they were stuck at home. After a few classes, I started to expand them to the 21 regional centers in California which are also non-profit organizations that help children and adults with developmental disabilities. Then, I contacted the regional centers that are in the zones for Pacific Standard time. Finally, I am planning to contact all of the regional centers in the country.

Has it been a smooth road?
It was very difficult and took a lot of time and effort trying to spread the word about my classes. It was hard finding the emails of people to contact and contacting them. Also, when I came out with more classes, some of the regional centers did not get my emails so many parents emailed me about passwords not working.

When I was creating my website, it was difficult to find a website name that was not taken but was still unique and memorable. Also, when creating my physical website, I was halfway through creating it and everything got deleted. I had to go back and redo everything which took awhile.

Figuring out what times were the best for my classes. Since I am fairly new, I am still going through that struggle. Sometimes my classes will have nobody in it. I am still in the process of finding the best times to hold my classes.

Coming up with a curriculum that was appropriate for the children

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
It is a project being transitioned into a business/company. I have applied for incorporation and will be applying for 501c (3). But, I teach dance classes to children with developmental disabilities from ages 0-12. I am most proud of starting this and being able to provide classes to these children. The fact that our classes are free and that we target children with developmental disabilities sets us apart from others. I have noticed that there are not a lot of classes offered that are free and even more classes that do not target children with developmental disabilities.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes, because California is a very diverse place with one of the best regional center systems in the country. I would definitely recommend that they start out here.

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Image Credit:

Eun Kim

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