BCR: A Place To Grow Monthly Dance
BCR hosts monthly evening dances for special needs adults and teenagers, age 16 and older. Volunteers will come in good spirits and ready to get out on the dance floor with participants from BCR! Volunteers also assist with set-up and serving drinks and food.
The world has been politically exhausting as of late and after months of getting my hands dirty, often literally, in order to make the world a better place I was looking for something lighthearted to do as an event. I found myself going through the extensive list on the LA Works event schedule website. I was drawn to the “GOT RHYTHM: Dance the Night Away” event title. Yes, I do got Rhythm and Yes, I’d like to dance the night away. The event was hosted by BCR which is a nonprofit organization that offers day programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities. The event also hit close to home as one of my cousins is on the spectrum.
Initially I was worried some people would be uncomfortable with the event as they may never had interacted with someone with special needs. Then I realized that was all the more reason to do it. When we arrived the main coordinator Jason mentioned that this kind of volunteering can be considered intense for some. Later in the night when I was slow dancing with one of the men, I realized why and how people could become uncomfortable, but any awkwardness was quickly diminished when I realized this dance event was likely a highlight of many people’s month. There was so much joy in the room. Some people dressed up like greasers and understandably got down to “Grease Lightning.” There was a dapper gentlemen rocking a flower pocket square. There were women swaying together. There were hands up in the hair and a sense of excitement when “Gangnam Style” came on. We danced in groups, and one on one. Many of us even karaoke’d all of Katy Perry’s “Firework.” But there was also a chance to mingle around and talk with people. Many shared stories while others shared their double jointed party tricks or their excitement about going to Disneyland for their birthday.
I walked away from the experience glad that I challenged myself and others to step outside their comfort zone. But more importantly these people were no longer seen as people with special needs, they were just people. Thankfully everyone who came enjoyed it so much that they want to go again, as BCR hosts these events monthly. Hopefully we can become regulars.
Contributed by Colleen Evanson, TV writer and California State Delegate.
You can find her on instagram and twitter.
ABOUT BCR "A PLACE TO GROW"
BCR “a place to grow” is a nonprofit organization that offers day programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Its mission is to enable its participants to develop their abilities so they may become independent and contributing members of the community. The Center provides day activity and extended day care programs, as well as monthly evening dances, for children and adults with developmental disabilities — mental retardation, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral-palsy, seizure disorders and other disabling conditions.
BCR provides a safe, structured, and caring environment where participants are valued, accepted, and understood. Without BCR’s Monday through Friday programs, the majority of its consumers would be at home — sedentary, isolated from peers, and often lacking stimulation. BCR also offers a supportive milieu for families and caregivers, and provides them with essential hours of respite.