Local instructor hopes to raise homeless awareness with dance

Hip Hop for Socks takes place on December 6

By THERESA WELL, Connect Contributor

Kelli Stewart, an instructor at the MI Dance Academy, is passionate about dance, her students and giving back to the community. Stewart is the originator behind a new event, Hip Hop for Socks, taking place this year on December 6, where all community members are invited to participate in a hip hop class she will teach – and admission is by donation of pairs of new socks for the local daytime drop-in shelter for the homeless in our community, the Centre of Hope.

“I have hosted a few sock hops in my day. A group of friends and I started a non-profit called Open Heart and we prided ourselves on giving back to the community by hosting events with a purpose! It was such a great experience, every event had so much positivity energy – I knew I had to bring that to Fort McMurray,” said Stewart of the decision to develop a new event where the fundraising emphasis is on the “fun”.

Stewart knew she wanted the sock-raising event to benefit the Centre of Hope, which led her to connecting with Barbara Rex, Fund Development Coordinator at the Centre of Hope. Said Rex of the socks used by the Centre of Hope: “In 2014, we gave out 11, 485 pairs of socks.”

While it may seem like a small thing, the socks allow the homeless in our community to keep their feet warm and dry, particularly crucial during the cold winter months when frostbite is a real danger.

Stewart said there are several driving factors behind the Sock Hop hip hop class: “To bring people together… I hope this event starts a conversation and brings awareness to the homeless in our community. I’m also hoping this event shows the kids in the community that anything is possible and perhaps this will encourage the youth to be the change.”

Barb Rex of the Centre of Hope said the event has tremendous meaning to the staff and patrons of the organization, too.

“This kind of event has so many positive meanings to the Centre of Hope. The obvious is for our patrons benefiting from the socks that will be provided to them, especially in the winter months when the need for this item skyrockets.”

“This kind of event has so many positive meanings to the Centre of Hope. The obvious is for our patrons benefiting from the socks that will be provided to them, especially in the winter months when the need for this item skyrockets.”

Stewart hopes the entire community will attend the sock-raising hip hop class, which will take place on December 6 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Shell Place Grand Ballroom at MacDonald Island Park.

Admission to the Hip Hop for Socks is by donation of pairs of new socks.

“I encourage everyone to attend, who wouldn’t want to shake their booty for a great cause. I encourage people to step out of their comfort zones and know that attending is way bigger than just a hip hop class, we are giving something to someone in need,” said Stewart.

– Connect Weekly –