Community program reaches out to Latino teens
ANAHEIM, Calif.--(Business Wire)--
Thanks to a grant from the Aetna Foundation, young people in Anaheim can dance
their way to better health with free classes from Anaheim Ballet.
Today, Aetna Foundation representatives presented a $15,000 check to Anaheim
Ballet that will let the school offer its daily STEP-UP! dance classes at no
charge to young people in Anaheim. Mayor Tom Tait attended the ceremony
celebrating the program`s success.
"STEP-UP! is much more than an exercise class," said Evan Rosenberg, director of
Anaheim Ballet. "STEP-UP! is a wellness program that can improve our students`
lives in so many ways. By the end of the semester, our students stand taller,
eat better, have a more positive body image and improved self-confidence. We are
grateful to the Aetna Foundation for helping us offer STEP-UP! to young people
in our community who otherwise would not be able to take part."
Known for its rigorous classes in traditional ballet and modern dance, Anaheim
Ballet has offered the STEP-UP! program for more than 15 years. The goal is to
use the joy of dance to help young people be more physically active and live
This year, about 150 kids, ages 8 to 20, are enrolled. The daily, 45-minute
classes teach ballet and hip-hop, dance steps that incorporate aerobics,
stretching, and strengthening. A nutrition expert offers tips on healthy eating
and lifestyle habits.
Rosenberg noted that the majority of students in the program are from Anaheim`s
large Latino community, a population that is at higher risk of obesity and
related health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
"We have seen dance be a powerful motivator for people of all fitness levels to
be more physically active, eat better and take care of their health," said
Sharon Dalton, vice president of the Aetna Foundation and director of regional
grant making. "Our goal at the Aetna Foundation is to promote health and
wellness, particularly in underserved communities where access to healthy food,
safe streets and quality health care may be limited."
STEP-UP! student Angie Ibarra, 19, says the program has helped her eat better,
lose weight and be more confident. "The STEP-UP! program at Anaheim Ballet has
been an incredible experience. Not only has ballet helped me physically, it has
also helped me mentally by helping me make better decisions and helping me stay
positive. It has also helped me step out of my shell and become more social."
Angie has been in the program for more than five years.
Classes are held Monday through Friday 3:45 pm - 4:30 pm at the Anaheim Cultural
Arts Center. STEP-UP! students perform in the annual Anaheim Ballet Spring
Concert at Servite High School.
For more information about classes, visit www.anaheimballet.org or call
About Anaheim Ballet
Anaheim Ballet was proclaimed the resident ballet company of Anaheim, California
in City Council chambers in August 1997. Anaheim Ballet [formerly Coast Ballet
Theatre] has been a leading presence in the Southern California arts community
for over 30 years. Anaheim Ballet's mission is to enlighten and entertain
audiences with classically rooted programming and contemporary presentation.
Anaheim Ballet provides quality performances to audiences of balletomanes as
well as novice ballet-goers and acts as a haven to talented Southern California
artists and as a magnet to international talents. Anaheim Ballet's Educational
Outreach and Scholarship STEP-UP! program is committed to the promotion of
classical ballet and providing its numerous benefits to those otherwise not able
to receive them.
About the Aetna Foundation
The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm
of Aetna Inc. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed $413
million in grants and sponsorships, including $19.2 million in 2011. As a
national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to
high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and
commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered more than 2.6 million hours
since 2003. Aetna`s current giving is focused on addressing the rising rate of
adult and childhood obesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic equity in
health and health care; and advancing integrated health care. For more
information, visit www.aetnafoundation.org.
Marnie Goodman, 860-273-2314
Ashley Duree, 714-520-0904
Copyright Business Wire 2013