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Providing Hope and Opportunity Through Dance, Academic and Family Programs

fall 2010

danceup previously known as Saint Joseph Ballet


In The First Person Mario Chavez Class of 2010 My first year at The Wooden Floor, I would just go to the locker room, change, take class and go home. I was struggling at school, and I was going down the wrong path in my life. One day, I did something that would be a turning point for me. I was in junior high and brought a BB gun on campus. Not only was I expelled from school, the administrators wanted to remove me from the school district completely. I was ashamed and scared. Teresa Farias in Family Services at The Wooden Floor came to a district meeting and spoke on my behalf. That showed me that The Wooden Floor would be there, to help me and guide me. I will always be grateful to Teresa. She helped me think about the choices I had in front of me before making quick decisions. I put the past behind me. Luckily, I was able to stay in the school district and I started my second year at The Wooden Floor. I saw that the students at The Wooden Floor were high level kids and were pretty cool. They were just being themselves and liked who they were. I wanted to have that, so I started hanging out with them. At my high school, so many kids wanted to be cool by being a gang member. I drifted away from bad friendships and found my true friends at The Wooden Floor. We respect our differences, and being myself feels great. Not everyone may like you, but that’s okay as long as you are happy with who you are. Another thing I realized at The Wooden Floor is that when you try your best, there is huge gratification. One day when I was in Annual Concert rehearsals a few years ago, I made a decision to give it my all. I was shocked that the rehearsal instructor recognized and commented on the change in my dance. During my last summer at The Wooden Floor, I took college preparatory classes in the Hutton Education Center, and looked at ways to achieve my dream of attaining higher education. Due to my family’s financial situation, I was unable to attend a four year school immediately - but I have a plan: I will attend Santa Ana College as a full time student, and also get a job. My income will help my parents provide for me and my sisters, and I will also save so I will be able to transfer to a four year college. The Wooden Floor has put me on a path to be successful. It changed my whole life.

Saturday October 9, at 6:00pm Keep the Promise, A Wine Tasting Benefit

Enjoy an evening of inspiring stories, exquisite 92+ point wines, and gourmet hors d’oeuvre pairings. For reservations please contact Ellen Reader at 714.541.8314 ext. 124.

Saturday October 16, from 8:30am-1:30pm

Wednesday December 8, at 6:00pm

Annual Auditions

Celebrate the season of caring with the young people of The Wooden Floor at our annual Holiday Party. Spend time with the students and let them know they matter. To RSVP, please contact Ellen Reader at 714.541.8314 ext. 124.

A moving event marking the beginning of the 10-year journey for future students of The Wooden Floor. Do you know a student that would benefit from our services? Audition details are online at

Holiday Party

Complete information on events featuring the students of The Wooden Floor is available online at


Arts + Education = Creativity Connection

Last year, as a way to formalize long-range visioning for our students, The Wooden Floor began to segment students by high school graduation classes rather than dance levels. You should have seen the awe inspiring moments when third graders sitting with their parents heard for the first time that they would be graduating in 2019. The Wooden Floor’s long-term goal is to break the cycle of poverty through generational change – and we know this will be achieved through a combination of inventive art-making and educational attainment. By having up to a ten-year

Supporter Spotlight

McLarand Vasquez Emsiek & Partners

McLarand Vasquez Emsiek & Partners (MVE) is a national architecture, planning, interiors, and graphic design firm with a portfolio spanning over thirty years. The company contributes to the community not only through lasting architecture for sustainable, urban infill, civic, TOD, residential, and institutional oriented projects, but also through providing generous support and guidance to organizations like The Wooden Floor. The most noticeable mark the company has made on The Wooden Floor is through the design of our award winning home in Santa Ana. More recently, MVE provided pro-bono design work on The Wooden Floor’s stunning new sign above Main Street. Erik Chrestensen, a seven year veteran of MVE and the company’s Director of Graphic Design worked passionately on the project with Paul Zaleski, MVE’s Director of Design. “We wanted to make sure the sign we created took the aspects of motion involved with dance. We also went with irregular surfaces that are unique, like The Wooden Floor,” says Chrestensen. He continued, “We also aimed to compliment the architecture of The Wooden Floor’s building, so the sign matches, and feels like a part of the building.” Chrestensen says watching the installation of The Wooden Floor’s new sign will always stick in his memory. “It was a complex design,” he says, “It took a lot of ingenuity by several sign fabricators, and the installation wasn’t easy either. When we started bolting it on, being able to see it as we specified, the moment was very gratifying.” As to what keeps MVE involved with The Wooden Floor, Chrestensen cites the feedback the community has given about the organization. “The Wooden Floor seems to make a big difference to a lot of people who really use it as a resource. The organization is an outlet for creativity, not only oriented around dance, but individual growth. The fact that it is something appreciated by the community makes us stay involved.” The Wooden Floor is also grateful to Ernie Vasquez, AIA and Founding Partner of MVE & Partners, who together with his wife Socorro have helped propel the mission of The Wooden Floor forward. McLarand Vasquez Emsiek & Partners’ latest support comes as proud sponsors of The Wooden Floor’s upcoming wine tasting benefit, Keep the Promise. 2 The Wooden Floor | fall 2010

relationship with our students and being able to mentor them through some of their most challenging years during middle school and high school, they develop the skills, self-knowledge and self-confidence to aspire beyond the crippling grip of poverty toward a self-sufficient future. Our dance-based model nurtures creativity and teamwork through early, continuous training in improvisation coupled with exposure to a variety of artistic styles. A recent Newsweek article, “The Creativity Crisis” (July, 10, 2010), reports a decline in the creative capacity that is essential to our nation’s economic growth and to solving

college ready This year, The Wooden Floor introduced the Senior Summer College Readiness Workshop, a daily workshop which spanned the course of three weeks, and covered the topics of college research, personal statement writing, financial aid planning, and scholarship identification. All incoming high school seniors of The Wooden Floor had the opportunity to attend the workshop free of charge. “The workshop helped students get ready for their senior year by explaining what to expect, preparing them for what is required, and teaching them about the tools and terms needed to apply to college,” says Nelie Ramirez, The Wooden Floor’s College Preparatory Coordinator. Being prepared prior to entering their senior year of high school is a part of The Wooden Floor’s overall plan to encourage students to be ready for college at an early age. Students in grade 7 are encouraged to attend college campus

tours sponsored by The Wooden Floor. By grade 8, workshops are provided to prepare youth to enter high school with a plan for meeting college requirements. Students in grades 9 and 10 meet with senior students who share the experience of their college application process. Parents, too, are an important ingredient to a child’s success, and they have workshops of their own provided free of charge by The Wooden Floor. According to Ramirez, “Having a parent component is vital. Parents especially like hearing from other parents of The Wooden Floor who share a similar background, and already have a student enrolled in college, so insight can be passed down.” The Wooden Floor is committed to long-term results for these young artists, their families, and the larger community through deep relationships built over time.

Helping Hands The Reading is Fun! program, a summer classic at The Wooden Floor, returned in 2010 with 35 students ages 8 to 14 demonstrating a more voracious appetite for reading than ever. The four week annual program is designed to instill a life-long love of reading in The Wooden Floor’s youngest students and is run with the help of stalwart volunteers, Jean Wilson, Virginia Connolly, and Fabian Mendoza. This year, Reading is Fun! was complimented by The Learning Workshop, a program with a focus on increasing Science and Math skills for students in grades 4 through 12. Both programs are built to

integrate within The Wooden Floor’s free one-on-one and walk-in tutoring services. On average per semester, The Wooden Floor provides 62 youth with free one-on-one tutoring from our Academic Team which, as of the last academic semester, is comprised of two tutors donated by the University of California, Irvine, and twelve interns from schools such as Chapman University and California State University, Fullerton. As with all academic programs at The Wooden Floor, outreach at an early age and parent involvement is considered central to success. According to Wendy Mendoza, Academic Coordinator at The Wooden

critical problems. The article stated, “A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 ‘leadership competency’ of the future.” A study of 1,500 middle school students revealed that those high in creative self-efficacy had more confidence about their future and ability to succeed. They had the ability to come up with alternatives no matter what problems arose. This is the ability we teach and the confidence that develops at The Wooden Floor. Again, for the fifth year in a row, 100% of our seniors graduated high school on-time and all have enrolled in college, as compared to about 35 percent of their socio-economic peers nationally. In fall 2010, The Wooden Floor will have 104 alumni in colleges throughout the

University of California, California State University, and community college systems, as well as nation-wide including: Boston College and Wellesley College. Those students, most of whom are the first in their families to attend college, will be majoring in various disciplines including the arts, business, engineering, and medicine. Together, with your continued support, child by child, The Wooden Floor is improving the lives of hundreds of families in our community.

the wooden floor news feed November 1

The “Imagine” workshop series begins for all 7th and 8th grade students. The workshop series will provide opportunities for students to address the link between current choices and future goals in addition to increasing their self-awareness.

October 14

The Wooden Floor hosts a career night for middle school and high school students. The goal is to expose students to a diverse variety of career possibilities and the types of degrees needed in those fields.


September 20

Saturday, October 16, 2010 Doors open from 8:30am to 1:30pm 1810 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706

Parents participate in “Family Services 101” and learn about all of the services offered to families of The Wooden Floor.

The Wooden Floor provides a safe and welcoming place to be outside of school for students growing up in Central Orange County. Through an audition process, The Wooden Floor accepts young people with the greatest financial need in the Orange County area.

• •

September 13

The organization Homeward Bound hosts a workshop for parents of The Wooden Floor titled “Understanding Your Teenager”. Topics for the workshop are structured around a discussion of values.

Acceptance into The Wooden Floor is based upon: A demonstrated desire to excel in dance A financial need We accept children in 3rd through 8th grade, who will be at least 8 years old and up to 14 on the day of Annual Auditions.

September 4

As a part of National Child Awareness Month, The Wooden Floor participated in the Festival of Children at South Coast Plaza for the first two weekends in September. Visitors were able to meet alumni of The Wooden Floor and learn more about the organization.

Details on Annual Auditions are online in English and Spanish at

September 1

Backpacks stocked with school supplies, donated by St. Joseph Health System and Boeing, were distributed to the youth of The Wooden Floor. These annual gifts provide our young artists with the much needed tools, encouragement, and confidence to tackle the new school year with success.


August 19

DanceFree Weeks

“I was shy. Now I feel great through dance!” wrote Raul, a student of Freemont Elementary School, after experiencing DanceFree Weeks, The Wooden Floor’s annual community engagement project. DanceFree Weeks is a free week-long introductory dance education program held in the most disadvantaged schools throughout Santa Ana and neighboring cities for students in Grades 3 through 8. This program brings professional dance instructors into public schools for one hour each day over the course of one week to teach youth fun dance moves in addition to building their self-esteem. DanceFree Weeks 2010 takes place September 27 through October 15, and has grown to serve more children. Last year, over 3,000 children in local schools were served through 25 week-long sessions at 19 different schools. Participating students are encouraged to attend The Wooden Floor’s Annual Auditions for a chance at enrolling in the organization’s year-round programs. The artistic expression and structure provided at DanceFree Weeks and in The Wooden Floor’s year round programs propels underserved youth forward, individually and collectively, equipping them and their families with essential tools to create their own opportunities.

Floor, “Our academic curriculum aligns with current state requirements. We pre-test, diagnose areas of weakness, and develop an individualized work plan with parent involvement. In almost every case, the student is able to improve in post-testing.” Parents with students enrolled in tutoring meet with The Wooden Floor’s Academic Coordinator five times per semester, and must complete a parental check-list to ensure students have the fundamentals for success, such as a work space at home. The results of the program are reflected in the grades of The Wooden Floor’s student

body, with an overall grade point average of 3.0. Every student of The Wooden Floor that has a grade point average below 2.0 is required to be in mandatory tutoring. The Wooden Floor’s academic programs go hand-in-hand with what students learn on the dance floor by raising self-esteem, engaging parents, and through the hard work of the student, yielding success. The long term outcome is demonstrated in our youth who leave The Wooden Floor with strong skills that increase their grades and allow them be competitive in the college application process.

The Wooden Floor was selected as a 2010 grant recipient for the Disney VoluntEARS Community Fund. The Wooden Floor is one of 79 nonprofits being awarded a cumulative total of approximately $385,000 this year in recognition of unique and innovative nonprofit efforts that address critical challenges in our local communities. Thanks to Disney employee Diego Teran for nominating us!

August 9

The third and final workshop themed, How to Survive Unemployment, was conducted for parents of The Wooden Floor by Orange County Consumer Credit Counseling Services. The series tackled topics such as, getting to know your credit score and budgeting.

July 7

The Wooden Floor’s Supplemental Aid Program Committee met to review applications and provide financial assistance to students who have completed The Wooden Floor’s program and enrolled in a secondary educational institution, but whose ability to complete their education is in jeopardy due to unforeseen financial difficulties. A total of $55,208 was awarded via the Supplemental Aid Program for the 2010-2011 Academic Year, including $35K in scholarships from the College Access Foundation of California for the Class of 2010. Due to these funds, 11 students were then able to attend their first choice university.

Stay up to date – follow us on Twitter at TheWoodenFloor or find us on Facebook! 3

Non Profit Org. US Postage

previously known as Saint Joseph Ballet


Orange, CA Permit No. 356

1810 N. Main St. Santa Ana, CA 92706 714.541.8314 RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED

The Wooden Floor Board of Directors 2010-2011 DAMIEN JORDAN, Chair Senior Vice President, General Manager, The American Funds Service Company JIM SLAUGHTER, Vice Chair Attorney at Law, Slaughter & Slaughter LLP Photography by: Kevin P. Casey and Johnny Hernandez

FRANK FOSTER, Secretary Principal, Residential Strategies, LLC RICHARD C. HUNSAKER, Treasurer President, Hunsaker Management GLENNDA ADAIR Wellness Retreat Weekends, Cordelia Knott Foundation JOAN BEALL Community Leader CATHERINE CHASE Senior Vice President, Credit Suisse ARLENE CRAIG President, The Betty L. Hutton Title Holding Co.; Vice-President, The Hutton Foundation JIM DRISCOLL Community Leader JAN FOSTER Community Leader FRANK HALL Vice President Resource Development, Retired, St. Joseph Health System SHARON HARTSHORN Community Leader VIRGINIA HUNSAKER Community Leader YVONNE M. JORDAN Community Leader JUAN LAGUNA, Parent Representative Attorney at Law CATHERINE MACIVER Senior Vice President, Bank of America Insurance Services Group DONALD MCKAYLE Professor Emeritus, University of California, Irvine YVONNE R. O’NEILL CPA, O’Neill Financial Management CYRUS PARKER–JEANNETTE Chair, Dance Department, California State University, Long Beach SAMUEL RUIZ, Parent Representative Machine Maintenance Manager, ERAN Engineering LARRY STOFKO Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer, St. Joseph Health System FERNANDO VIVANCO Director of International Communications, Boeing IDS Support Systems SUSAN WHITTAKER Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, St. Joseph Health System

Back for the fourth consecutive year, The Wooden Floor’s popular annual wine tasting benefit returns on Saturday, October 9, 2010, at 6pm, featuring twelve exquisite and hard to find wines. The event, titled Keep the Promise, will be an inspiring evening celebrating the forward movement of underserved youth, and will raise funds for The Wooden Floor’s award winning services and programs. The strolling wine tasting reception features 92-96 point wines retailing at up to $130 per bottle. John Markley and his wife Janice, wine lovers and dedicated supporters of The Wooden Floor, passionately selected and donated the wines for the event over the course of a year. The Markleys have been known to hunt all over California for certain wine selections. Their motivation is to have the most distinguished wine tasting event in Orange County, and in turn, generate the greatest impact for students of The Wooden Floor. In addition to being introduced to spectacular wines, event attendees will gain a deep knowledge of The Wooden Floor’s 27-year old mission and tremendous outcomes. Guests will get to know the youth they are helping to support, as well as experience an intimate, behind the scenes look at the organization. The evening is designed for guests to fully understand how their support helps keep the promise The Wooden Floor makes to its youth: to provide them with the space, structure, and support to make positive choices, live fuller lives, and break the cycle of poverty through year-round dance, academic, and family service programs. All proceeds from the evening benefit The Wooden Floor. Private community support accounts for 90 percent of The Wooden Floor’s funding, and enables its year-round programs to be offered to 96 percent of its students free of charge.

EVENT DETAILS Keep the Promise Saturday, October 9, 2010, at 6pm 1810 North Main Street Santa Ana, CA 92706

ABOUT THE WINES Wines featured at the event include the 2006 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon, rated 96 points by The Wine Spectator; the 2007 Peter Michael Chardonnay Ma Belle Fille, rated by The Wine Advocate at 94-96 points; the 94 point 2007 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Lindsay Estate; The 2008 DuMOL Pinot Noir; and the 2006 Mount Eden Chardonnay Estate, rated by The Wine Spectator at 96 points.

TICKETS Individual tickets are $150 per person, $100 of which is tax deductible.

SPONSORED BY PREMIER Janice & John Markley

This event sells out every year! Reserve your tickets today through Ellen Reader at 714.541.8314 ext. 124 or

GOLD MEDAL Joan and Don Beall



BARBARA YINGLING Community Leader WILLIAM YINGLING III Community Leader BETH BURNS, Board Emerita Founder of The Wooden Floor and Artistic Director (’83-’05) ERNESTO VASQUEZ, Board Emeritus AIA, Founding Partner, McLarand, Vasquez, Emsiek & Partners SOCORRO VASQUEZ, Board Emerita Community Leader The Wooden Floor thanks Pickle Group for graciously underwriting a portion of the cost of this newsletter.

4 The Wooden Floor | fall 2010

Frome Family Foundation, Hartshorn Family, Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Hunsaker, Nancy and Geoffrey Stack Family Foundation, Ezralow Companies

This newsletter is dedicated in memory of Marjorie “Marge” Virginia Sutton who, along with her husband Larry, did so much to further the mission of The Wooden Floor. Her legacy and spirit live on each day within the walls of The Wooden Floor, as youth enter the building through the Sutton Lobby. Thank you to the corporate sponsors which have come forward this fall to support the students of The Wooden Floor.

"Dance Up" Fall 2010 - The Newsletter of The Wooden Floor  

The Wooden Floor in Santa Ana, previously known as Saint Joseph Ballet, is an after-school organization formed in 1983 that delivers hope an...

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