Youth Leadership Council's First Takeover!
On June 2, 2018, Dancewave completed its inaugural year as host of a Youth Leadership Council. An initiative of the New York City Mayor's Office, Youth Leadership Councils "provide opportunities for you to share ideas to create community solutions. YLCs also give you the tools to put them into action with your friends and adults to support you. Team up with teens from your neighborhood or school and meet new people who share similar interests, while making “it” happen."
Beginning in October 2017, 17 youth from Brooklyn and Manhattan met monthly at Dancewave, under the guidance of Dancewave's Youth Leadership Council Coordinator, Laura Mercer. Along with developing their leadership and public speaking skills, they focused on the concept behind the initiatives main hashtag #YouthVoiceCounts and how to bring their voice to the forefront of community building and leadership. The Council volunteered at several Dancewave performances and fundraising events as well as city-wide events with staff from the NYC Mayor's Office, such as the opening of Teknopolis at Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Throughout the year, the Council developed their culminating event, typically a project unique to each YLC across the city. Dancewave's YLC build three events under the umbrella of a "YLC Takeover", which all took place on June 2, 2018 in Brooklyn, NY. The three events were developed based on the Council's interest in the following concepts: connecting conversations between generations, gentrification, and dance as a means for social change.
A team of Council members visited the Cobble Hill Nursing Home to lead "Operation Connection", consisting of movement activities, sharing their choreography, and conversing with the residents. A second team was stationed at JJ Byrne Park in Park Slope to lead "Youth Dance Expanse": impromptu sidewalk dance activities opening to conversations with passersby. Participants voted on their preferences for recipients of donations being collected as part of the activity. A final group gathered at Dancewave's main studio to lead "Project G", a presentation of their research on gentrification. The groups raised $100 throughout the day and based on the community participatory voting, the donations went to Coalition for the Homeless.