By Carina Sorrentino
Suraiyah Abdul-Wahab ’13 has been hosting a creative dance class for children ages 6-12 from the Capital Region at the Kenney Center since fall term.
As an aspiring educator Abdul-Wahab stated, “I thought it would be a head start to get teaching experience.” She spent time researching the benefits of exercise and creative dance for children, developing a program they could get the most out of. The class consists of a 30 minute warm-up where children explore modern, ballet and hip-hop styles of dance, and then 30 minutes of learning a choreographed routine. Abdul-Wahab does all of the teaching but has the support of students Rachel Brown ‘13, Fadeelah Ziyad-Islam ‘15, Kiana Miller ‘16, Jessica Malinconico ’16 and Janine Cerutti ‘16. Her fellow helpers ensure that the group stays on task during the class and keep order amongst the energetic children, a task that Abdul-Wahab says “I truly appreciate.”
The benefits of a good workout are not all the class provides for the children. Suraiyah applied for and received both IEG and IEF grants. The students receive the class training, t-shirts personalized with their last names on the back and a reception at no cost. This ensures that children are able to participate in the constructive program regardless of their financial standings. As a student who is consistently involved in community service Abdul-Wahab expressed how important it is for students to extend their horizons in Schenectady. She stated, “I personally learn new things about Schenectady having not been from here… It really is amazing and you have to be open-minded. The community is very open to Union, they want students willing to help them and they want to help us.”
After seeing the success and joy that the initiative has brought one can note the significant impact Union students can have on the community. Suraiyah ensures that, “It has become so successful that I will teach the class next term, it’s educational and they get to express themselves.” These benefits are endless for our upcoming generation, providing another reminder of the importance of giving back to the young people of Schenectady.