Flower Petals Adaptive Dance Company, based in Greenwich, announced it has received a $6,000 grant from the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism. These funds will aid in the hiring of professionally trained staff to assist and guide our student volunteers working one-on-one with children and adults with a range of cognitive disabilities.
Flower Petals Adaptive Dance Company provides a safe, fun opportunity for children and adults with autism and other cognitive disabilities to learn dance in an environment that meets their unique needs. Student volunteers from local high schools are paired with each dancer as they participate in activities that promote movement, socialization, and sensory stimulation. Many of the students are autistic and non-speaking or minimally speaking, requiring our volunteers to build connections through physical prompting and shared experiences on the dance floor.
The funding provided by the Foundation will help us bring quality dance instruction to an under-served population of people with disabilities, at a rate that is affordable to families. Many special needs families spend a significant amount of money on schools, therapies, medications and doctors, leaving little funds for enrichment in the arts. We created a place where people can come every Sunday and experience joy and movement while their differences are both supported and celebrated. Flower Petals fosters gross motor skills, communication skills, socialization and sensory regulation for our dancers, in a setting that is beautiful, calming and comforting.
“Seeing this program grow has been an incredible experience. I started the program in 2021 by renting one studio at the Greenwich Arts Council. My Daughter Katherine Reynolds, a freshman in high school and her friend Angelica Cilio a sophomore in high school were our only teachers and they taught one class. Today we offer four dance classes and now because of this grant we will be able to fund professional dance instructors with the possibility of adding an additional class next year. This truly is a community effort, the Volunteers and Parents come together each week to try to give our students a fun, creative learning experience. Our motto is “Everyday could be the day for a breakthrough – We can make a Difference, Let’s Try.” Erika Reynolds.
“The Flutie Foundation Autism Community Impact Grant help our partner agencies address a variety of significant needs in the autism community,” says Nick Savarese, Executive Director of the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism. “Programs like these are helping people on the autism spectrum live life to the fullest and we are proud to support their efforts.”
The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, based in Framingham, MA, awards grants annually through a competitive application and review process. The Autism Community Impact Grant that the Flutie Foundation distributed this year support traditionally under-served, under-funded, culturally diverse communities reflected in the Foundation’s areas of interest; providing a path for educational and vocational skills, supporting recreational and active lifestyles, and ensuring people with autism are safe, supported and informed.