By Sadef Ali Kully
Activities for children and teenagers are sprouting up everywhere, including a dance fitness class at Queens Central Library on Merrick Boulevard in downtown Jamaica.
Delicia Davis, an anti-bullying author and performer featured on the Dr. Oz show, has been giving young children and teenagers free dance fitness classes every Friday evening at the library.
The program, #dreamteam, provides a safe space for weekly social engagement. It also aims to provide teens with consistent opportunities to support their social, creative and professional lives.
Davis said the goal is to reach Generation Y by incorporating performing arts as well as practical leadership and development opportunities.
“Increasingly low graduation and high arrest rates among inner-city youth have a far-reaching and detrimental impact on educational success and self-esteem,” said Davis, who also conducts anti-bullying workshops across the city. She said that when young people have mentors and positive social engagement, it helps to motivate them, raise their self-esteem and keep them focused in school.
Those attending the class do not have to participate in events, but they are required to set realistic body goals and try to achieve them to the best of their ability, Davis said.
During a recent Friday dance class, library patrons passed a glass soundproof room where dance fitness class students could be seen practicing steps to Beyonce’s song “7/11” for an upcoming event.
“My goal was to lose three pounds and become toned,” said class participant Fatoumata Toure, 14, from Jamaica. “But I ended up losing four pounds and I feel good.”
Recently, the class went to perform at a park event in Rosedale while also cleaning up and renovating the park, said Davis, who is a community liaison for the NYC Parks Department.
Davis has an upcoming event in which her dance fitness class will perform a skit. The event takes place June 27 at the First Annual Community Empowerment and Leadership Conference, being held in Jamaica.
The free dance fitness classes are on Fridays at 5 p.m. in the Teen section of the Queens Central Library. Davis said that she is booked at the library until September.