HOW IT BEGAN
Eight years ago, 13-year-old Jackie Rotman realized that she could make a difference in other peoples’ lives through her love of dance. Seeking my advice, we sat over a glass of lemonade and she explained her dream of Everybody Dance Now! In this program, high school students would teach 9–12 year olds free after school dance classes.
We talked about all manner of issues that she would need to address. There were many problems to solve: Why do I need insurance? How do I write a grant? What’s a budget? Do I need a license? A bank account? A web site? How should I….?
In Santa Barbara since 2007, EDN! has a staff of seven local teens teaching 17 classes a week to 250 youngsters free of charge. Jackie, now a recent graduate of Stanford University on their scholarship program, has in turn ‘mentored’ six teens to handle the Santa Barbara management responsibilities of marketing, scheduling teachers and classes, grant writing, web management, and how to be an executive spokesperson. The leaders change almost every year.
EDN! was featured on MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.” Jackie is overseeing the creation of 11 additional chapters in the United States and Canada and is mentoring their leaders. She has won many awards for teens helping young people and was featured in the October 2011 Glamour Magazine as one of “10 Top College Women.” Jackie was the keynote speaker at our first annual Art Career Day Conference presented by Art Without Limits and seven other organizations in 2011. EDN! now has its own nonprofit status.
When we started, I gathered an Advisory Committee of 25 local arts movers and we created a plan for Art Without Limits. I’d had a nonprofit status in my pocket since 1983. We launched in November 2009. Our programs have grown because we are listening to our emerging artists and their unique needs. We have added; monthly Business Workshops which are open to the public, a Peer to Peer program where experienced, teens give instruction to younger students who cant afford lessons, a short term Turning Point – a mentorship of about 15 hours for those that need just that. We also have led the Art Career Day Conference since 2011, a full day conference for teens thru college age students wanting career in the arts. 40 professional artists gvie talks, lead breakout groups and chat with aspiring artists that can lead to mentorships.
Jackie still calls me for advice and support….thank goodness. Mentorships and deep friendships never cease.
Guiding Jackie was, and is, a deeply rewarding experience and proved that the concept of mentorship as exponential. One single mentorship has touched thousands of young people! Jackie was my inspiration to mentor emerging artists in all art forms: visual, performing, literary, media and administrative arts. This is my goal: giving artists the tools, guidance and encouragement to make their dreams come true. The gift is my reward.