Dancers bring Christmas to needy children


Happy to help, senior Michelle Smith and junior Erin Sheridan wrap gifts for needy children.

Soccer players aren’t the only ones getting gifts from dancers. Working as Santa’s elves, the dance team shopped for toys and clothes for a Brevard County family in need this weekend. At noon on Saturday the girls drove to Walmart to shop for two children in need then came back to school to practice and wrap presents between routines.

“We were shopping for two little boys who live in the county,” dance team captain Lauren Youngson, senior, said. “Their grandma is taking care of them right now, and she works at a fast food job and doesn’t make a lot of money. So we’re buying them Christmas presents so that they can have a happy holiday.”

The dancers had a list from the boys that included a Leapster Ultra and their clothing sizes for winter clothes. In addition to the list, the dancers were able to buy books, games, cars, and a gift card.

“We split up into two groups of twelve,” senior dance team captain Keiran Sheridan said. “One group took the seven year-old and the other shopped for the eight year old.”

The team’s coach works in the school system and asked local elementary schools if they had any children who needed a secret Santa. This year she found the two boys, seven and eight years old, under the care of their grandmother, who works at a fast food restaurant.

“She asks around to find needy children in elementary schools so that we can help a new family every year,” Youngson said.

This is the dancers’ third year of helping less fortunate families. Each dancer brought in money and pooled it together to buy the gifts.

“We didn’t set a price minimum or maximum of what you could bring,” Sheridan said. “We just brought whatever amount of money we wanted to donate.”

After shopping, they held their annual Christmas party and practiced in the gym. Between practicing routines they wrapped the presents to be delivered to the boys’ grandmother through their elementary school.

“I love knowing that we’re helping someone in the community and giving them a nice Christmas,” Sheridan said. “It was fun. When we were wrapping the presents, we wrote ‘From Santa’ on all of them, so keeping that spirit of Christmas alive was nice.”

Youngson agreed.

“The satisfaction of helping people who need it and being able to bring Christmas to a family is the best part,” Youngson said. “We got the the present that they really wanted, and the fact that we were able to be the Santas for these young boys was pretty cool.”