Free After-School Program Positively Touches the Lives of Over 25,000 students

Free after-school dance program has worked with over 25, 000 at-risk students in the US to teach the expressive art-form of dance. Students join the 10- or 20-week program for free, perform for their school and are eligible for ongoing scholarships.

Santa Monica, CA, January 13, 2010 --( Afterschool is an important issue in every community. Nationally, 15 million children are unsupervised every day after school, leaving young kids with nothing to do, other than potentially get in trouble. And it’s only getting worse due to after-school programs losing funding. However, there is at least one afterschool program is succeeding. D.A.R.E. Dance, a free after-school program for students in the inner cities across the United States is celebrating ten years of providing physical activity and confidence boosting after-school programs to over 25,000 students. This program has recently even caught the attention of President Obama who awarded Jill Roberts, Director of D.A.R.E. Dance, the President’s Call to Service Award in August of 2009.

“We are thrilled to be in our 10th year and have so many success stories of students who have benefitted from D.A.R.E. Dance not only because they learn to dance, but because they learn to make positive choices in many areas of their lives,” said Roberts. “We are we’re doing everything we can to raise the funds to offer this program to the schools on our waiting list while staying in all of our current schools.”

In addition to attending free classes once a week, students in the last ten years have benefited in numerous ways. Instructors have done extra things such as take students to Broadway shows, a student in New York who was labeled a “problem student” ended up winning a dance scholarship one summer, and a student whose mother was in a coma was able to release her feelings during class. And although the program is not geared toward launching dance careers, three students in Los Angeles, California were selected by Culture Shock, a professional dance company, to perform with their youth company, Future Shock.

D.A.R.E. Dance has attracted Broadway Stars as classroom instructors including Kelly Isaac from Bring in the Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk and Riverdance, Javier Munoz from In The Heights, and Josh Walden from Ragtime. In addition, Helen Hayes, renowned choreographer and dancer in Washington, DC has also worked with the Program. Regional Managers who run the operations and training for D.A.R.E. Dance have been on the television show America’s Got Talent, performed in the San Diego Ballet, have run their own major dance troupes and training programs and have worked for the Secret Service.

In 2010 the D.A.R.E. Dance Program will take place in 71 schools in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia. In 2009, over 4000 students participated in the Program. Since the program began over 25,000 students have participated in the program and thousands of additional students, school administrators, parents and community leaders have attended the assemblies and performances.

About D.A.R.E. Dance
D.A.R.E. Dance was established to bring kids a free and positive alternative to drugs and gang violence through the fun healthy and expressive art form, dance. Students who are enrolled in the D.A.R.E. America Program, or are in grade-levels that are selected by the schools administration, attend in-school assemblies where they participate in an assembly led by a professional dance company. The dance company combines their art with a drug and violence prevention theme and demonstrates different styles of dance, speaks to the students as role models, and asks student volunteers to join them on stage and participate in movement during the assembly. Interested students are then permitted to register for free twenty-week after-school programs each semester including a variety of hip-hop, jazz, tap, ballet, modern and other world dance forms led by the dance company. Students continue to receive prevention materials and engage with their peers and role models in prevention discussions. At the end of the program, students perform in a community or school performance setting, bringing family and other students together. Finally, scholarship opportunities in dance are available to students with an acute interest and dedication to the D.A.R.E. Dance Program. Scholarship programs are offered locally so that students are able to participate easily.

The D.A.R.E. Dance Program is affiliated with organizations such as Afterschool Alliance, Drug Enforcement Administration, National Guard and dozens of professional dance companies throughout the country. Since 2000, the D.A.R.E. Dance Program has received funding from American Express, General Mills, The J.E. and Z.B. Butler Foundation The Milken Family Foundation, News Corporation, Nike, Target Foundation, Verizon, Walmart, and numerous private donors. While these generous contributors have made D.A.R.E. Dance a possibility for so many, D.A.R.E. America is always seeking additional donations to help maintain and expand these programs. Those who are interested in contributing to the program or would like additional information including photos or an interview may contact Jill Roberts at 310-459-0326 or visit

D.A.R.E. Dance
Jill Roberts
(310) 459-0326 - Feel free to contact Meredith Liepelt if Jill Roberts cannot be reached.