Local Teen Angel ProjectTM Reaches Student Service Learning Milestone
Donates 2,000 Service Hours in One Year
Local Performers Sing and Dance for Communities in Need
Maryland (December 16, 2013) – Community service meets performance in a relatively new act on the teen/tween dance scene. The Teen Angel Project (TAP), a non-profit local group of almost 50 middle and high school students, has engineered a new way to reinforce core values while teaching song and dance. The group only performs at venues where they are bringing joy to a community in need. Whether it’s a nursing home, special needs organization, hospital, or other community-based organization, TAP is bringing lots of smiles – at no charge - to local residents who can use some more sunshine in their day.
And in just over one year, the performers have donated more than 2,000 community service hours to local organizations in need.
The group has gained traction on local stages quickly, giving performances at high-profile events including two shows on the National Mall where they opened for Autism Speaks and Walk for Wishes, at Make-a-Wish Events for National Believe Day, and at a host of local venues including Children’s Inn of NIH, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the National Rehabilitation Center, and several nursing homes including Foxhall, and the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington. In sync with the group’s orientation toward making a difference, they’ve also performed at Hope Through Harmonies, a Sandy Hook Fundraiser, and they are planning their 2nd Annual Wings! Spring Gala.
TAP was founded by Silver Spring mom and high school English teacher, Francesca Winch, who literally woke up from a dream about teens reaching out to the community through song and dance and started testing the waters for interest the next day. “I thought maybe a small number would come on board, but the response from performers and the community has been overwhelming,” she says.
In fact, the TAP management team consists of seven parents with like-minded passion about the performing arts, who have assembled the necessary framework for success, and meet weekly to implement the business plan and manage the mechanics of a 50-person song/dance troupe.
Winch recalls her first teenage job as a guitarist at a Burger King in small town New Jersey, an experience that convinced her that music can lighten anyone’s load. She tutored prisoners with guitar/music therapy when volunteering with nuns at New Jersey’s Essex County Penitentiary while still in high school herself. And recently, as a teacher, she’s led four student trips to Ireland, where she’s connected U.S. and European performers in a cultural exchange.
The “Teen Angels” include seasoned students who have spent years in dance classes, musicals, voice lessons, and recitals, and have auditioned for TAP to put their skills to use in new ways. A demonstrated commitment to public service is a mandatory part of the audition process.
The group has developed a full and varied repertoire under direction by a high calibre creative team: Artistic Directors Jason Strunk (the choral director of the Bullis School ) and Tammy Roberts (a former Miss Maryland,) both of whom have decades of professional acting and directing experience in musical theater. Guest choreographers have included local dance teacher Debbie Clark, Good Counsel High School theater director and teacher Kristina Friedgen, and local phenom, Ryan Watkinson who has performed in the Broadway productions of Hair, Promises, Promises and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.
TAP has been recognized locally as a group, and several members have won awards. Performer Sean Watkinson, a graduate of Potomac’s Bullis School, received one of Bethesda Magazine’s 2012 Extraordinary Teen Awards.
About the Teen Angel Project:
Teen Angel Project (TAP) is a non-profit program for middle and high school students whose mission is to bring joy to communities in need, through song and dance. TAP performs in hospitals, homeless shelters, veterans’ facilities, hospice centers, nursing homes…wherever music could brighten a life. Developed by parents and students, this community service organization is committed to fostering a socially conscious performing company. More info is available at www.TeenAngelProject.org and the Teen Angel Project Twitter and Facebook pages.
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