Youth and Teen Programs
At the core of D’AIR is our teen program, a 'student earned' program. Teen classes are offered daily and students commit to attending at least 2-3 times per week. In exchange for taking classes all students must mentor younger students or other community groups, sharing what they have learned while assisting in class for at least 2hrs/month. In addition, students commit to participating in at least one work/play day per month. Many students do much more. Teens have many opportunities to perform throughout the year both in house and out in the community. At end of year they produce their own show where they are in charge of everything from creative direction, choreography, costuming, rigging, flyer and program design, sound editing. As a stepping stone to the teen program D'AIR offers weekly classes to youth in grades 1st-6th.
We serve 80 kids and teens on weekly basis representing 25 different schools including many in the Grant Park neighborhood and surrounding areas such as Parkside, Atlanta Neighborhood Charter, King Middle, Maynard Jackson, DH Stanton, Drew Charter, Carver High, Mace, Washington, Hapeville Charter, McNair, Wesley International, Dunbar, Intown Academy, Crawford Long, Redan High, Decatur High, Renfroe Middle, Witefield and Woodward Academy
Over the years we have partnered with other local youth service organizations such as Nicholas House Family Shelter, Boys and Girls Club, IRC refugee teen program, Dunbar Rec Center, HERO for Children serving kids infected by or affected by HIV/AIDS, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Salvation Army. We are committed to continue to seek opportunities to partner with organizations to increase our reach to underserved communities.
Our youth and teen programs are offered on a sliding scale, accessible to everyone. Approximately 70%-80% of our students are on free/reduced lunch at their schools and pay nominal to no fees.
We accept applications in the month of August each year. The program runs annually September - May with additional summer programming. Both programs are year long starting in September and admission is based on a competative application process. Fees are based on a sliding scale and priority admission is given to our community partners. Please check back in August to download the current application form. More information about the programs can be seen here:
"If I can so this, I can do anything, because this is really hard," (Iris T. at 12 yrs).
As an earned income opportunity D’AIR offers fee based aerial dance and fitness classes, workshops, private instruction, showcases and special events to the community. The classes cater to all ages and ability levels. (our oldest student just turned 69 years!) Please visit the Classes Section for more information.
To broaden our reach D’AIR partners with community groups to experience one time workshops or long term residencies. In the past we have worked with groups such as HERO for Children (working with kids infected by or affected by HIV/AIDS), Chris Kids working with foster teens, and the IRC working with refugee teens. In 2015 D'AIR did a semester long residency at Hamilton E Holmes elementary which culminated in a performance for the entire school through a grant administered by the Fulton County for the Arts. Our currrent community outreach initiative is the Clarkston Community Project.
CLARKSTON COMMUNITY PROJECT
One of DAIR’s major initiatives is to celebrate diversity through cultural education. In Atlanta we don’t have to look past our own backyard to see a beautiful array of people from all over the world. With a major influx of refugees over the years, Clarkston has increasingly becoming one of the nation’s most diverse cities. Five years ago D’AIR decided to celebrate Atlanta’s refugee community by partnering with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and offering a 10-week residency program to a group of their teens. On Saturdays D’AIR teens taught the IRC teens aerial dance while the teens from IRC taught the D’AIR teens about their various cultures. The program was a huge success and became an annual residency until 2013, due to lack of funding. However, D’AIR and former IRC staff member, Haimi Haile remained committed to the program and launched a new pilot program in 2014 called the Clarkston Community Project, while seeking funding. Ms. Haile, an immigrant of Ethiopia and resident of the Clarkston community herself, is heavily entrenched in the refugee community and recognized the need to continue to serve these kids and the value of the D’AIR initiative.
In 2016, D’AIR was fortunate enough to receive funding from the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation to re-launch a 3 month long program for 12 lucky kids of the Clarkston refugee community. The selected students are newly arrived (less than 5 years in USA) kids of refugee families from countries such as Iraq, Nepal, Thailand and the Congo. The program is peer to peer driven, supervised by D’AIR instructors and project coordinator Haimi Haile, but directed by the students. The program launched in March with a group fieldtrip to see Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Kurios’. Inspired by such amazing talent, the kids were eager to start their journey, spending every Saturday at D’AIR honing their skills. Led by teen instructor, Keyvious Avery, D’AIR teens shared their skills with the CCP kids while learning about such diverse cultures. The arts are naturally a social equalizer, but aerial dance is unique in that it requires so much teamwork and trust that working together is not forced but natural. Working towards the year end teen production built even stronger bonds as the kids and teens worked tirelessly to tell you their stories. The families of the CCP community also became involved, inviting D’AIR representatives into their homes for interviews that were shared with the kids. It's a bitter sweet end to the season, but we are hopeful to receive additional funding to relauch again soon!
Please reach out to us if you are with an organization serving at risk youth or teens and are interested in partnering us or are interested in supporting such partnerships!