(NewsNation) — A Sacramento nonprofit organization is helping kids learn to dance. In the process, they’re teaching critical life skills.
On Saturday, Studio T Arts & Entertainment will host its annual “Day of Dance,” a tentpole event that brings the community together to celebrate dancing. In the week leading up to the celebration, Studio T offers kids free dance classes.
Tamaira Sandifer, founder of Studio T, said she started “Day of Dance” events because she wanted to help young people, particularly those in areas where services aren’t offered, or those who can’t afford them.
It isn’t just dancing kids learn at Studio T — the organization’s Side Hustle Academy helps kids learn videography, photography, graphic design, social media and other artistic and entrepreneurial skills.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sandifer said, she noticed a lot of the jobs kids would typically have were no longer available to them.
“Our kids needed a way to make money,” Sandifer said, which is what started Side Hustle Academy.
“They were able to not only make money, they were able to develop creative workforce development skills that made them competitive and they were able to help small businesses, particularly those of color, get online during the pandemic so that they could continue to have businesses,” Sandifer said. “We were able to bring in almost $700,000 to small businesses just by supporting them, and our young people became supplemental providers for their family and still are continuing to do it today.”
For all the work she’s done for dance and advocacy, Sandifer, known as “Miss T,” will be honored as the Woman of the Year by Sacramento Assembly member Kevin McCarty in his district.
“It’s an incredible honor to be selected to receive this recognition,” Sandifer said in a news release. “I have always simply done my best to reach young people in need, and to offer whatever I can to increase their lives in some way.