This week I had the opportunity to speak to two extraordinary young women that are using their passion for dance to help better the lives of children and youth in NH!
Suzanna Derynioski and Kelsey Piper are the co-founders of New Hampshire Dance Movement (NHDM), an organization that puts on an annual event, Dance to Make a Difference, to benefit the Faith Hope and Love Foundation, a NH non profit that helps children and youth suffering from poverty, hunger and homelessness. Suzanna and Kelsey work closely with dozens of amazing dance athletes and the President of FHL, Lara Gruner, to put on this amazing masterpiece of a show!
When Suzanna is not working on this event you can find her teaching dance at Edgewater Dance in Gilford, working as a camp counselor at the Bank of NH Pavilion, working with the Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation or spending time at her favorite spots – Jordan’s Ice Creamery in Belmont, Wayfarer Coffee Roasters in Laconia, and the dance studio in Gilford!
When Kelsey is not working on the event, she is the administrative assistant at R.M Piper Inc, a dance teacher at Concord Dance Academy and a camp counselor at the Bank of NH Pavilion! You can also find her at her family cottage on Lake Winnipesaukee during the summer months.
Both Suzanna and Kelsey have used their dance passion to help others in Dance to Make a Difference AND as professionals in the Annual Lakes Region Dancing with the Stars Charity Extravaganza that has helped to raise over $75,000 for Lakes Region nonprofits! These young women are truly a gift to our community!
Suzanna was born and raised in Laconia and Kelsey was born and raised in Plymouth! While both attending Plymouth State University, they helped to form NH Dance Movement as part of their practicum. They were inspired by PSU alum Erin McDonough, who had put on a charity dance show the previous year for the Faith Hope and Love Foundation but her career in dance moved her to Texas! During the early stages of planning, Erin served as a mentor and guide and Suzanna and Kelsey have taken over as coordinators and run the successful event ever since!
NH Dance Movement’s mission is to support local charities through dance. This year’s Dance to Make a Difference is Saturday, August 26th at 7pm at the Interlakes Community Auditorium located at 1 Laker Lane Meredith! Check out the show flyer here!
Here are five things you should know about Dance to Make a Difference:
- Since taking over as coordinators of the event, Suzanna and Kelsey have raised over $10,000 for charity!
- Dance to Make A Difference is in its 6th year, each year getting bigger and better!
- Twenty dance professionals are donating their time and talent to the performance this year!
- 117 New Hampshire dancers have been in the show over the years.
- On average over 100 hours are put into practices and choreographing the show!
Want to help and just don’t know how? Well here is your chance!
Community members can donate by sponsoring a dancer or attending the show, which is tomorrow night at the Interlakes Community Auditorium!! Tickets can be purchased at the door!
When asked what their favorite parts of the show are Suzanna said, “My favorite part of doing the show is being able to dance with other young adults. It can be difficult to find opportunities to dance and perform at a higher level after college. The show gives me a chance to choreograph and dance with college friends that are willing and able to take on a challenge.” Kelsey said, “My favorite part of doing Dance to Make a Difference is the opportunity to pair dance while helping others in need. Being able to help others by doing something I love is such a rewarding feeling.”
Both of these young women are an example of doing what you love and making a difference for others!
Suzanna and Kelsey would encourage young professionals to give back no matter what your age or experience in the nonprofit world is! They said, “Don’t let your age hold you back. When we formed NHDM, we were juniors in college and had never put on an event before. It’s a constant learning process, and sometimes you have to do things by trial and error. Anyone can make a difference no matter their age. I think sometimes young people are hesitant to go for their ideas because they don’t think they’re going to do well or that they don’t have enough experience. No one will ever know everything, so why not go for it if you have an idea or a passion for something! Don’t give up! If you have a dream or vision, pursue it. It might not work out perfectly the first time around but don’t let that be the end all. We have come across many struggles over the years of NH Dance Movement that would have made it easy to just throw in the towel. Instead, we took a step back to look at the big picture and with small changes here and there we have been able to be successful each year, to make positive change in society and to make a difference for local kids.”
“Dance as though no one is watching”
There are so many wonderful people and agencies making a difference in our own back yards! If you would like us to feature your non profit agency or know of an amazing NH professional giving back like Kelsey and Suzanna email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time –Do Good NH!