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Dreams To Dance

Teen dance instructor provides dance scholarships for local children

Article by Michelle W. Parnell

Photography by Sanjeev Singhal

Originally published in Evans City Lifestyle

Recent Evans High School graduate, Graysan Russell, has danced her way through the last sixteen years of her life, first as a student and then as a competitor. Now that she’s a dance teacher with Art in Motion Dance Studio in Grovetown, Graysan wants to share her passion with children who may not have the same opportunities she’s had.

“I’ve seen dance impact my life and other kids’ lives so much that I believe everyone deserves a chance to dance if they want to,” says Graysan. “About two years ago, I had this thought - that I say was put there by God - about starting a scholarship for kids to be able to come and dance, but I had no idea where I was going to find kids to sponsor.”

Unbeknownst to Graysan, her friend and co-worker, Leah Locklear, had already spoken with the studio owner about providing a scholarship for one of the students from the Boys and Girls Club. When Graysan realized she and Leah were thinking along the same lines, she realized the Lord had put this all together.

With Leah’s help, a little girl who had expressed interest in coming to the studio to see the costumes and take classes was chosen. “This year, she is offered a scholarship to take two classes of her choice,” explains Graysan. “The scholarship also pays for costumes and recital fees.”

To raise scholarship funds, Grayson and her father make jams, jellies, and apple butter to sell, in addition to selling fresh eggs from their chickens. “It’s the Clark Allen Scholarship,” says Graysan, “and I named it after my dad because he has always supported and encouraged me to do things like this. I love that I get to grow up with the memory of us doing this together.” They offer a variety of jam flavors year-round such as strawberry, grape, coffee, muscadine, and blackberry. Seasonal flavors include mango, raspberry, and peach for summer and apple jelly and apple butter coming this fall.

“My mission in life has always been to change the world and I’m so excited and blessed that this is one little way that I get to start doing that,” says Graysan. “I love that with this scholarship, I get to be part of changing the world in a really small, but very meaningful, way. And I love the idea that everyone who buys, or is on the Facebook page, or just prays for the girl in general, is part of our project to change the world….we get to change the world together.”

If you’re interested purchasing Graysan’s homemade jams or homegrown eggs, or simply to donate to the Clark Allen Scholarship fund, connect with her through her Facebook Page, The Change the World Project.