Yes, I did it. I took 25 lessons from Nandina Snow at Arthur Murray Dance Studio and created a fun Lindy Hop number that, well didn’t win. BUT we did raise a considerable amount of money for Avenues for Homeless Youth in Minneapolis. Avenues provides shelter and services to help homeless youth from age 16 to 21 find their path to leading productive lives. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for youth who are homeless, because once I wasn’t too far from it myself. It was on my mind frequently in the early days of figuring out who I wasm wanted to be and how I was going to get there.
The first time I remember that sort of ‘ping’ in my head was the year 1984. I had quit college and was trying to supplement my income of $110.00 per week as a “professional singer/dancer” with any part time job. My rent was $315.00 per week. On my way to rehearsal I remember seeing a young man hitchhiking and decided to stop.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“Anywhere,” he replied. He was scared.
“ANYONE could pick you up here, aren’t you worried?”
“Anything would be better than being at home,” he replied.
I brought him to my apartment, made him a bologna sandwich and perused the Yellow Pages a look for who to call. I found a shelter and was instructed to bring him in.
I don’t remember where it was, I just remember them quickly and what felt like, rescuing him from me. That was it. At times I wonder what happened to that frightened young man. I hold hope that maybe that gesture helped offer a better avenue for his “road of life,” and am grateful I’ve chosen the avenues that brought me to this place in which I can continue to help.