Member Spotlight: The Dignity Institute

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Siena is pictured above with Alex Diaz (center), champion break dancer and Dance Artist at The Dignity Institute.

“I want to be invisible.”

These were the first words that staff at The Dignity Institute heard spoken by 11-year-old Siena when they met her at a Boys and Girls Club. Hidden in the protection of the back row, sinking into the comforting cave of the hoodie that covered her face, it was clear that Siena meant every word.

Staff at the Dignity Institute are no strangers to hard-to-reach kids like Siena. Their mission is to connect underserved youth to college, a career, or entrepreneurship by awakening their purpose and passion through learning life skills and the urban arts. They approach this mission from the principle of respect: everyone, no matter their life circumstances or background, deserves to be treated with dignity.

Over the course of their 8-week hip-hop dance program, Siena was transformed.

Her hoodie was pushed back to reveal a contagious smile. Her spot in the back row was slowly abandoned in favor of a position at the front of the stage. Siena became a leader among her peers, offering suggestions for improvement and giving hugs of encouragement. By the day of the final performance, Siena had transformed into a vibrant, curious individual confident that her presence matters, her voice matters, and that she is worthy of being heard.

Learn more about The Dignity Institute at www.thedignityinstitute.org.

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This is the first in a new series, Member Spotlights, that aim to promote awareness of the impact of our nonprofit members. All members are encouraged to share stories of their organizations’ work that best illustrate the positive impact their organization has in their community. Nonprofit members can click here to submit a Member Spotlight.