Why I mentor kids

A dear friend asked my recently, “Why did you get started volunteering/mentoring kids?” I thought for a second.. that answer needs conversation over a cup of coffee..

My initial answer is LOVE. My heart is my greatest asset & greatest weakness. Part of the reason I’m on this earth is to love others & share unconditional love. I’ve been blessed to understand the true meaning of love, its purpose and experience many shades of love. We NEED love to survive.

I grew up an only child. I was loved. I was shown great love and taught about the importance of loving others. When I hit my 30s, it hit me hard!  I finally understood one of my purposes on this earth.. loving others (hard) especially kids in need.

I love kids, I have always loved kids and always found myself teaching kids. When my husband and I decided not to have kids of our own, I told him I wanted to volunteer. My decision not to be a mom helped me realize I wanted to be involved in possibly helping 1 or more kids that could use some extra love.

In 2009, I started volunteering with the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank. I started a broadway dance class, tap classes & a performance/competition dance team. They won multiple awards & trips all across the country to perform. I can only hope I left them with love in their hearts & memories they will remember for a lifetime.

In 2016, I heard about a program called Kids Hope at my church. It’s one child, one mentor, one hour, one day a week. I was thinking about trying a one-on-one relationship in the future, but I knew I had to do this when I started crying watching the promo video.

For the past 3 years, I have had the privilege of mentoring 2 young boys that have taught me as much as I’ve taught them. Sharing my heart with kids in need have created some of the most fulfilling moments of my life. When they lean in and whisper in my ear, “I love you Miss Michelle..” or randomly grab my hand to hold.. (you know little boys – this is HUGE) it’s just makes my heart explode!

I want to make a difference in people’s lives. I am willing to stand in the gap for anyone that needs me. When any kid, teen or adult (who am I kidding), sees me and comes running for a hug, sends me a text from college, wants to sit down for advice, giggles or laughs uncontrollably because of what I did or said.. that’s why I mentor.  I have to.. my heart NEEDS to share LOVE!  (It’s why I’m here).

Michelle xo

It’s A New Year.. What Makes YOU Fierce?

It’s a new year and one of my favorite words is FIERCE!  It ignites my passion.. my desire to be strong.. my wish to be fearless.. my ambition to persevere and my goals of being unforgettable!

A year ago in February, my Grama passed away.  We were very close & I loved her with all my heart.  She was one of my most special people: my cheerleader, my mom, my voice of reason, my greatest sounding board and LOVED to watch me dance!  While I was back East for her funeral I stumbled upon a ballroom dance studio I had NO IDEA existed a few blocks from my home in LA.  I contacted them while in NJ (I swear Grama sent me to them) and the rest is history.. I fell back in love with dancing because of the owners Katie & Erick (below) and the wonderful instructors (the events & other students are just a bonus).

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I started dancing at 10 yrs old.  I taught, performed & competed all throughout school.  I turned professional at the age of 19 and continued my career until 26.  I taught ballroom at a Fred Astaire studio from 22-24 yrs old.  I lived my dream of being a dancer and performing professionally all over the country.  But I hadn’t ballroom danced in about 15 years (even just for fun).

Dancing has ALWAYS been my heart, my love, my joy, my passion.

When I retired I couldn’t figure out how to enjoy it for fun.. so I gave it up.

Last February I walked into the studio (shaking & heart pounding – thinking WHAT AM I DOING? I can’t do this anymore!) I was greeted by one of the sweetest guys I have ever had the pleasure of meeting (or dancing with) and I haven’t stopped smiling yet!   In a year I have lost 25 pounds.. bought a dozen glittering gowns.. danced & sung more songs then I can remember, laughed uncontrollably (while dancing), felt like a princess (more than once) and entered my first EVER competition in December.

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I am FIERCE!  I am having the time of my life.. inspiring others to dare to try something new.. sharing my joy, reminding others talent SHOULD be shared and hoping to become awesome in TANGO (my worst dance, in my mind) by this years end.  I am  not giving up!  I have over done it and injured myself multiple times last year.  But I’ve kept going. I can’t remember as much as I would like to or as quickly as I used to, BUT I AM FIERCE.  I feel good.  I’m graceful.  I’m happy.  I’m taking chances.  I’m NOT giving up!

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What is it that you would LOVE to try this year?  What lights a spark in your heart? What do you do and no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop smiling (this is a problem for my TANGO).  Do that!  Try that!  If it scares you a little, it means there is a WONDERFUL treasure awaiting you on the other side.. it’s wrapped in a gorgeous package with a tag on it with YOUR name.. “YOU ARE FIERCE“.. It’s just waiting to be opened.. discovered.. shared.. and ONLY YOU can unwrap it!

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Remember, DON’T let anyone or anything STOP you.. especially when you soul is whispering to you.. listen to it!  It’s usually IMPORTANT.

Please share your adventures & journey with me!  I can’t wait to hear what makes YOU FIERCE!(because you are)