A Why The Y Story

Grace Nolan Dances and Dances and Dances

129bda1c072c1a087691_Grace_Nolan_picmonkeyed.JPG
129bda1c072c1a087691_Grace_Nolan_picmonkeyed.JPG

A group of dance students dressed in pink leotards eagerly await entrance into the room where they will tap, flap and dig their tap shoes and walk delicately on the tips of their ballerina-slipper toes. 

It’s 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Madison Area YMCA’s School of Performing Arts. When 6-year-old Grace Nolan arrives, all the girls gather around Gracie, as she is known, while she sits on the floor talking to them and her mom, Kris, ties the ribbons of her shiny, black tap shoes into bows. Gracie, wearing her signature hot pink gloves, and her fellow dancers, clickety-clack onto the hardwood floor to begin warming up with their teacher Miss Ashley. 

Kris signed up Gracie two years ago for her first Y dance class. “I wasn’t sure how long she would last because she is not usually able to participate in non-special education classes. There are so few activities that she is able to do in an integrated session with peers,” she says. 

Sign Up for E-News

Gracie has Down syndrome. She also has found her passion. “Gracie absolutely loves to dance and be on the stage,” says Kris, noting that the Y’s special needs program also provides a volunteer to assist Gracie. 

Kris was impressed with how “the Y not only wanted to do whatever they could to keep Gracie in the program, they wanted to keep her progressing.” School of Performing Arts Director Kim Buccheri says, “When I saw Gracie improving, I recommended that she move to the next level. I wanted her to keep improving her skills,” Miss Kim says.

 

“Gracie walks into dance class every week with a smile that lights up the room,” says Miss Ashley. “I have seen tremendous growth in her independence and confidence as a dancer. Her passion and perseverance is rare and truly inspiring. Gracie is a pleasure to teach.”

 

“Gracie did the Y’s dance camp last summer,” says Kris. “I thought it might have been the end of the line for accommodating her but the staff said they wanted to keep her in camp. Without me even asking—they came to me,” she says, showing a face of disbelief. 

 

“I’m so grateful to the Y,” says Kris, who acknowledges that she and her husband, Brian, wanted to do more. “When we looked at our charitable contributions this year, we knew that the Y would be included. We were just so grateful that the Y made the offer to find a way for Gracie. We knew, then, that the Y really was inclusive. They didn’t just say ‘yes’—they fully embraced Gracie and said, ‘We want her here.’ It far exceeded any expectations,” says a teary-eyed Kris, noting that she has shared her Y experience with the parents of other exceptional children at Gracie’s school. 

I signed up Gracie on a bold, brave, stupid wish with low expectations,” says Kris, raising a tissue to the corner of her eye. “And now we’re hooked! We’re not going anywhere.” When I sat at the computer to make our donation to the Y, I was crying. My 10-year-old son, Jake, came into the room and asked if I was OK. I told him, ‘I’m fine. They’re happy tears!’” she says laughing. 

Why the Y is the Madison Area YMCA’s new column on TAPinto. Why the Y features stories about members who are inspired by the Y, staff members who help make a difference in people’s lives and innovative programs that change our community for A Better Us. Please visit the column to meet your neighbors that are part of the Y family and learn about the programming that just might make a difference in your life! 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Chatham

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, June 25 – Sunday, July 1, 2018

Please note that the library will be closed on Sundays now through Labor Day weekend

FOCUS ON:  SUMMER READING PROGRAM

By Galina Natenzon

All three of the library’s summer reading programs open this week!  The theme of this year’s summer reading is Libraries Rock!  The children’s program kicks off with a magic show by Matt Cadabra on Monday.  Over ...

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, June 18 – Sunday, June 24, 2018

Please note that the library will be closed on Sundays now through Labor Day weekend

PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

By Galina Natenzon

This week we are wrapping up our first session of ESL classes.  Stay tuned, we are planning a fall session to start in September.  New students are welcome to enroll!  This is the last week of calm and quiet at the library before our summer reading ...

Angie's Owners Want to Thank Their Chatham Customers

June 14, 2018

To the Editor:

We want to thank our customers and the entire community for their support and devotion to our business. Our last day of business will be July 31.

rWe will miss all the friends that we have developed over the past 26 years. Wishing everyone much success and happiness in the future.

Sincerely,

Louiza and Jimmy Poulimenos

P.S. "Until we meet ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

Chatham Students Schroder, Hyland Summa Cum Laude Graduates of Clemson; Huettenmoser Graduates Cum Laude

June 23, 2018

CLEMSON, SC - Chatham residents graduated from Clemson University in spring 2018 commencement ceremonies.

They are: Deianira D. Huettenmoser of Chatham, who graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Animal and Veterinary Sciences; Jennifer A. Hyland of Chatham, who graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, and Natalie M. Schroder of Chatham, who ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...