Across The Floor Takes Its First Steps

OMAHA – Thanks to grants from the Lincoln Financial Foundation, The Omaha School Foundation and OCF Community Enrichment Fund, WhyArts has developed a new program designed to inspire movement with people with disabilities.

The project – titled “Across the Floor” – is an adaptive dance-based curriculum that allows students with disabilities to experience in a safe and positive environment, the benefits of exercise along with social emotional skills while getting ready for a big dance.

WhyArts is partnering with local nonprofit Arts in Motion to develop the “Across the Floor” pilot program. Leading the development art Stephanie Goodrich and Kim Clark-Kaczmarek. Stephanie, has an Ed.D. from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in Educational Administration specializing her work with persons with developmental disabilities. She is also a yoga and movement specialist (BOLLD) for persons with disabilities. Kim Clark-Kaczmarek is the director of programming at Arts in Motion and is also a trained WhyArtist. Together they have created the curriculum and selected the music and will evaluate the outcomes of the program. All groups participate in a series of progressive movement classes that will culminate in dance event. Each week focuses on a new dance and new social skill and having fun and building confidence.

The program is being piloted at three locations: Omaha Public Schools’ Transition Program, VODEC and Gotta Be Me. The Transition Program offers a variety of services for secondary students with disabilities ages 18 to 21 who have completed their high school program with a certificate of completion or have not yet received their high school diploma. Students are out working in the community and yet are still working on development social and emotion skills. The second group of dancers are at Gotta Be Me, another local non-profit whose mission it is to “promote the inclusion of adults with disabilities into our communities, creating a culture that is brimming with life, dignity, and growth – for all people” These young adults are having a lot of fun learning dances, how to partner, how to say yes or no to a request to dance. The final location is at VODEC a vocational day facility for adults with disabilities.

Gotta Be Me will be hosting the public performance and socially distanced dance party at Turner Park at 1:00 on Sunday June 21st. Bring your own lawn chair, mask. Bottled water and pre-packaged snacks will be provided.

For more information about any of our community partners participating in Across the Floor please visit their websites:

www.vodec.org www.gottabeme.org https://district.ops.org/DEPARTMENTS/Curriculum-and-Instruction-Support/Special-Education/Transition-Program

For more information about WhyArts, visit www.whyartsinc.org. For more information about the Lincoln Financial Foundation, visit www.lfg.com/public/aboutus/lincolnfinancialfoundation.