Special Needs Program - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Special Needs Program

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WSVN -- Judging by the smiles on these kids' faces, you know they're having a blast.

These special needs students at Miami Edison Senior High School are learning to dance.

Karen Peterson, Artistic Director, Karen Peterson Dance: "We help the students with special needs to develop their own physicality, creativity."

Karen Peterson developed this program to give middle and high school students with a range of physical and mental disabilities a chance to try something new.

Karen Peterson, Artistic Director, Karen Peterson Dance: "It's a new challenge for them. It's asking them to perform tasks they had never thought of."

Karen Peterson, Artistic Director, Karen Peterson Dance: "Ready? Five, six, seven, go!"

Over 15 weeks, the kids learn a special routine they will get to perform in front of an audience.

Karen Peterson, Artistic Director, Karen Peterson Dance: "Shake it, shake it!"

Karen says the classes help build the kids self-esteem as well as their sense of teamwork, because it's something they do as a group.

Karen Peterson, Artistic Director, Karen Peterson Dance: "It also equalizes a lot of social issues that the kids may have."

Her program started out small, but that has all changed, thanks to the Knight Arts Challenge.

Marc Fest, Knight Foundation: "It's all about funding projects in Miami that bring people together through the arts."

Karen entered her program and won.

Now, she receives funding and is able to teach dance in 20 schools across Miami-Dade County.

A big benefit to these kids, who can't wait to take a well-deserved bow.

Karen Peterson, Artistic Director, Karen Peterson Dance: "Go Miami Edison Senior High School!"

Lynn Martinez: "The students' show will take place in March of next year."

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Power To Give:www.powertogive.org

Karen Peterson Dancers:www.karenpetersondancers.org

Knight Arts Challenge:www.knightarts.org 

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