- 02 July 2013
- by Lauren Pinkston
In 2005, at the age of 14 Jackie Rotman founded the organization Everybody Dance Now! (EDN!). Originally founded in Santa Barbara, EDN! now operates eight chapters nation wide. Each chapter works to introduce experienced dance instructors with children in their community who don’t otherwise have the opportunity to become involved in dance and other activities due to lack of funds. The entire organization is run by youth who work to inspire low-income students through encouraging, artistic experiences. Through the art of dance EDN! aims to promote healthy living and collective change.
“It's [EDN!] creation was inspired by a drive to give students an outlet across the city who weren't getting access to such important resources. There are so many great things about this city, but as more and more funding is cut for after school programs and public schools, there are less and less outlets for those who need them the most,” Sophia Horwich, age 19, EDN! Chicago Director, explains why EDN! is important.
EDN! has a huge impact on it’s students, but also on the youth leaders who keep the organization running. Founder Jackie Rotman, 21, shares, “It's also a part of our mission to help the young leaders and volunteers in our program to recognize their ability as social change agents and make a difference. We strive to help young people see that they're not just the world's future leader or next generation. They can make a difference now.”
Sophia agrees that the organizations volunteers benefit as much as the students. She describes her experience with volunteering, “You get to feel good about what you're doing and make a difference. It's our generation's job to do things about what we are passionate about.”
EDN! is currently working to open four new chapters in Hartford CT, Portland OR, Oakland CA, and Berkeley CA. Jackie hopes to continue to expand EDN! across the United States and, eventually, begin a campaign for international public service learning trips rooted in dance.