Compassionate Techniques: Dancers spread Christmas joy

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 2, 2016

happy patient: The dancers from X-Finity brought these boy Christmas presents because he had to stay in the hospital during Christmas.  Photo submitted

happy patient: The dancers from X-Finity brought these boy Christmas presents because he had to stay in the hospital during Christmas.
Photo submitted

Students at Picayune’s X-Finity Dance Studio are learning more than just dance techniques; they are learning compassion for members of their community who are in need of joy.
Last Wednesday, a group of dancers visited children who spent their Christmas in the hospital. Since there were no children hospitalized at Highland Community Hospital, the group brought presents to nine children at Slidell Memorial Hospital and Ochsner Medical Center in Slidell, Louisiana, X-Finity office director Missy Griffith said.
“All of our parents donated toys and owner E.Jae James also purchased some,” she said. “They had so much fun wrapping presents. The main thing was coming together in the spirit of giving. The selflessness of the girls was amazing. They knew they were going to make someone else happy. Some of the kids need to realize Christmas is about giving. This exercise teaches them to think more of others because they have been blessed beyond belief.”
James said this isn’t the only community project his dancers participate in.
They also contribute to Toy for Tots, Relay for Life, Cure for Cancer, special needs individuals and St. Jude, he said.
“We also prepare meals that are sent to the troops or a needy family,” James said. “They also help clean up yards for the elderly and adopt a family who may be in need as a result of a death, financial problems, fire or theft.”
Each child confined to their hospital room received five or six presents, Griffith said. The infants received clothing and stuff animals.
When the dancers walked into the rooms with their cheerful tidings, they were met with happy tears, hugs and smiles from thankful families.
Patricia Bolar,13, said it was an amazing experience.
“A lot of people take things for granted, these kids were just happy to see that people cared about them.”
Sophie Williams,12, said it’s important to help people because, if she was in need, she would want someone to show her they cared.
Thirteen-year-old Bella Doll said she wants to continue giving back to others, especially children who are sick.
“It’s just a nice thing to do for other people,” she said.
Ashanti Bullock,13, said giving presents to people who didn’t have any made her feel good.
Ten-year-old Jaeda Griffith spoke of the joy she witnessed.
“They were funny,” she said. “This one little boy was so happy to open his presents. He was smiling and he almost cried. It made me feel great, because not all kids to get have the kind of Christmas I do.”
Rayah Stubbs,10, said she gave gifts because she didn’t want the children in the hospital to feel left out.
“Christmas is about giving, not receiving,” she said. “I felt really glad to know that we put smiles on their faces. If I was in that position, I would want to smile too and know someone cared.”
Eleven-year-old Emily Schwegmann said giving back to the community is good and it’s important to care and be nice to people.
Yalanda Williams, 9, said it made her feel happy to put a smile on the faces of children who were unable to go home for Christmas.
Nekhia Arnold,13, said she thought it was fair to spread Christmas cheer to the children.
“Christmas is a time to celebrate and be thankful for what you have and to give back to others who don’t have what you have,” Arnold said.
James said his students are learning lifelong lessons about morals and contributing to the community.
“It’s showing them how not to live a selfish life and help others,” he said. “My parents taught me to give back, not for fame and fortune, but simply to do it because that’s what’s in my heart. I’m proud of their growth. They are learning how to be responsible, independent, supportive and how to respect themselves and others. I couldn’t ask for more than seeing them grow, aspire to give and put in the effort because they want to.”

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