Photo Credit: Laura Luc
The performing arts teach children creativity, confidence,
and focus. They also give kids the opportunity to forget about the stress that
comes with being a child and to just get lost in a moment. Sadly though, not
all children have the opportunity, or the means, to have performing arts in
their lives. Stage and screen star Raquel Wallace saw this first-hand when was
10-years-old and traveled to Colombia on a mission trip. Ever since, she’s made
it her mission to help aspiring young performers who don’t have access to
performing arts or can’t afford to pay for classes.
During Wallace’s trip to Colombia with her mom, they visited a halfway house to dance and sing with a lot of talented girls. By the end of the trip, Wallace formed a strong bond with a girl named Alison, but when she went back to the same halfway house the following Christmas, she learned that Alison had become a victim of human trafficking. This news hit Wallace hard and from that moment on, she proclaimed that she would touch the lives of children through her passion for singing, acting, and dancing, hence Little by Little was born.
Little by Little is a performing arts volunteer program comprised of young entertainers from Broadway, TV, and dance. Members of the program receive invitations to enroll in upcoming activities and anyone who is available at that time will volunteer. The program’s initiatives include working with the performing arts community to provide scholarships for performing arts programs, participating in performances and workshops, and collaborating to find locations for dancewear donations.
The program continuously collects new and used dance wear to be distributed to underserved, aspiring young dancers around the world. Recently, Misty Copeland became affiliated with Little by Little and traveled to Cuba to give donated clothes to hopeful performers. In addition, Little by Little also sent clothes to Haiti, Colombia, and Panama, as well as to dance studios in Houston and Louisiana after those areas were hit with natural disasters.
Perhaps the most dynamic part of Little by Little is the events put on by the members of the program. Workshops and classes have been held all over the world in places like Colombia, Iceland, and Guatemala. Locally, Wallace visits a school for kids with special needs every week to sing, play instruments, dance, and read with the students.
Photo Credit: Broadway World
Past events put on by Little by Little include “Go Back to Dance,” which was dancewear drive in Houston after Hurricane Harvey, and Bailando y Viajando, a dance workshop in Colombia. De Novo, was a one-night event where performers came together for a show and the proceeds helped well-known choreographers TOKYO and Alisha after they lost everything in a fire. Finally, members joined forces for “Dance for Haiti” and “Dancers for the Flood Victims in Louisiana.”
Advocates for the performing arts are much needed in today’s world. Every day we hear that funding for the arts is being cut from schools, but if a 10-year-old child can start a volunteer program and raise awareness, then we should all be able to do our part. So, next time your child grows out of their dancewear, instead of letting it collect dust in your house, send it to Little by Little and do your part to make performing arts available to our youth.