Alexa Miller from Woodbury, New York will be celebrating her Bat Mitzvah in May, 2012 but has already completed her Mitzvah Project.
Wait until you hear her story! She loves to dance and created a fundraising event, got lots of sponsors and raffle tickets and then raised a substantial amount of money for Dancing Dreams in Queens and The Dizzy Feet Foundation.
We asked Alexa some questions about her Mitzvah Project, please see her responses below:
MM: Please tell us how you decided to come up with your Mitzvah Project:
AM: Last summer, I was watching my favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance. I was amazed when I saw that the producers and some of the choreographers started a foundation for talented kids who did not have the funds to get a dance education to pursue their dreams. It occurred to me that I was so lucky that I am able to take several dance classes a week and do what I love to do more than anything. I started thinking that I did not know what I would do if I could no longer dance because of monetary issues. I decided to do a “little” fundraiser and donate whatever money I made to that foundation, The Dizzy Feet Foundation. I made custom beaded bracelets and raised $600 for the organization.
Editor’s Note: Alexa received a letter of thanks from The Dizzy Feet Foundation with a signed photo from Nigel Lythgoe and a few t-shirts!
MM: That was before you planned your Mitzvah Project?
AM: Yes, after selling those bracelets, I realized I needed to plan a Mitzvah Project for my upcoming Bat Mitzvah. My Mom told me that the amazing job I did with the beaded bracelets would be a great project, but it wasn’t enough for me. I decided to organize a Dance-a-thon.
MM: How did you go about coordinating such a huge event?
AM: I spoke to Mike Wagenberg, owner of Driftwood Day Camp, a local camp on Long Island. He was so moved by my passion and determination that he very generously donated the Field House at his camp for the event. Then I spoke with a good friend at my dance studio that has an uncle who is a DJ and the next thing you know, Docs DJ generously donated their time to the event. I was also able to get another donation from Voss water who donated water for the event and Popchips snacks sent 10 cases of their chips for the dancers to munch on. A local pizzeria that I love, La Venezia, donated pizza pies for the event.
MM: Coordinating all the details for a big event takes a lot of time, how did you pull this off?
AM: I tirelessly recruited donations and sponsors every single day. I did this between going to school, completing hours of homework and studying each night (I am so proud to maintain honor roll status at HB Thompson Middle School), Hebrew school and my dance practices which are every night until 9 or 9:30PM. In addition, I talked relentlessly about the event to my friends at school, at dance, from camp and rounded them all up to come and support the event and to join me and dance all day. I went to local stores and restaurants explaining what I was doing and before I knew it, I had 25 raffle prizes to raffle off! I looked at my Mom and said, “Mom, guess we have to get some raffle tickets!” I designed and had t-shirts printed which every participant got with their entrance fee at the event and they listed the donors and sponsors thanking them publicly whenever and wherever the t-shirts are worn.
I also asked everyone who attended to bring with them a donation of gently worn or new dance shoes and/or tutus or costumes. These donations I am taking to a wonderful place called Dancing Dreams in Queens, New York. They offer a program for kids with disabilities to be able to take a dance class and even be a part of a dance recital. Without this place, these children would never be able to dance. Being able to dance has changed so many of their lives in so many ways.
MM: Tell us about the Dance-A-Thon.
AM: On Sunday, March 20, 2011 the day was finally here. The participants arrived and paid a $25 entrance fee. With that they got their t-shirt, which they promptly put on, one raffle ticket and a pizza ticket. The kids had a blast. The DJ handed out awesome things. I had printed up “shout outs” which people purchased for a dollar and the kids got to hear the DJ announced message to their friends. I sold extra raffle tickets and had a candy bar which I sold candy. The pizza came and the kids ate and water was free flowing all day as were popchips. The event was a huge success.
Alexa’s Dance-a-Thon of Dreams!
MM: Tell us the results.
AM: I called the event “Alexa’s Dance-a-Thon of Dreams” in honor of a charity, which I see as giving talented dancers the opportunity to realize their dreams. Dreams that I could not imagine being unable to strive for. When all was said and done, I raised $5,200 for Dizzy Feet and $1,000 for Dancing Dreams. After all company matches are dispersed, the total will be $9,000.
MM: What lessons did you learn from your project?
AM: My parents and all my sponsors were so proud of me. More than anything, I was proud of myself. I learned a lot about what it means and how it feels to give back. After the exhausting day, we were on the way home and I had one more question to ask, “Mom, when can we do it again?”
We are excited to report that Alexa has been chosen as a winner for the Kids of Distinction program through the Town of Oyster Bay! Six kids were chosen for this honor. She will receive a plaque at the Town board meeting the end of June and has also been awarded a $500 scholarship.
Congratulations to Alexa on this terrific Mitzvah Project and amazing honor! Thank you for sharing your story with our readers.