Help Launch a Dance & STEM Camp

When I was 5 years old, I choreographed dance shows with my brother and cousins in our living room. Soon after, my parents signed me up for dance classes, and I haven’t looked back since. Through my young adulthood, dance remained my constant anchor in life: I majored in dance at Northwestern University, and even danced with the Luvabulls NBA dance team while juggling a full-time corporate job.

Through dance, I gained critical skills that helped me succeed in life. I learned discipline through working hard for myself and my team. I learned perseverance through practicing until I improved my craft. I learned courage through sharing my emotions and passion on stage with live audiences. I learned confidence through appreciating my body and the movement it created. I learned creativity through using the stage as my canvas to express any feeling I wanted.

Realizing the many ways that I grew from dancing, I’ve long wanted to share this with others. I toyed with the idea of starting a dance non-profit for years, but always found an excuse to put it off. When I started doing community outreach work at Google, I formed a new passion. This work included growing the pipeline of underrepresented groups in tech, specifically Blacks, Latinxs and women. Today, Blacks make up 7%, and Latinos 8%, of the workforce of tech companies in the U.S. ( Clearly, underrepresented communities continue to be underrepresented. STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs are growing faster than any other industry and offer higher pay with better benefits, yet Black and Latinx youth are disproportionately challenged in pursuing a career in STEM. I want to close this gap. One way I can uniquely contribute is through dance.

To do this, I am launching a pilot dance and STEM youth program, called Rêver. Rêver will be a summer camp combining dance instruction and computer science education for Black and Latinx youth in Chicago. At Rêver, we envision a society where Black and Latinx youth can dream of new possibilities for their future. We believe in the transformative power created by the combined qualitative and quantitative benefits of art and science. Through increasing exposure to applications of STEM via dance, we plan to grow the pipeline of underrepresented groups in these fields and help equip Black and Latino youth with skillsets to achieve their dreams.

Please help me make my dream a reality. My New Year's resolution was to finally launch the nonprofit I’ve envisioned for so long. Working with my collaborators, we’ve created a thoughtful curriculum for a week-long summer camp that combines hip hop dance instruction and STEM activities that will be integrated in the choreography the students perform. We aim to host 25 Black and Latinx middle school students from Chicago for an inaugural Dance & STEM summer camp. The camp will run August 14th through August 18th, culminating with performances and showcases on Saturday, August 19th.

We need your support and generosity. To provide exposure, access, and opportunity to communities underrepresented in the tech sector, we are offering this camp at no charge. To ensure the camp runs smoothly, we need to provide lunches, pay contractor fees, buy materials for STEM activities, and market the program. Your donation will make every aspect of Rêver a reality, and allow Black and Latinx youth in Chicago the opportunity to dream. I’m grateful of your support and belief in me to carry out this mission.
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Dasha Arias 
Chicago, IL

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