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danceup providing Hope and Opportunity Through Dance, Academic, and Family Programs

fall 2012

The Wooden Floor




nonprofit us postage

Melanie ríos glaser, artistic director

In the First Person James, Class of 2017 This place is not what I expected—so much goes on here in addition to dance. I love it and the friends I’ve made here. When I first started two years ago, my grades were low so I enrolled in The Wooden Floor’s academic tutoring program before my dance classes. The tutors are really fun and encourage me to work hard and think about subjects differently—it’s helped. I’ve raised my GPA 65%. My favorite subject is Social Studies. I love learning about why things are the way they are today. But as I look toward the future, I really want to be an engineer. I want to learn how to create new things to make the world better. I’ve already discovered I like science since I started going to The Wooden Floor’s Summer Learning Workshops. We do experiments that help you understand how things work. The Wooden Floor has helped me get to learn about the world. I’ve also learned a lot about myself.

1810 North Main Street Santa Ana, CA 92706-2727 714.541.8314

James participated in this year’s Financial Literacy Summer Residential Program at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business. He lived on campus, learning about economics, the stock market, managing personal finances, and much more.

September 27 6th Annual Keep the Promise Wine Tasting Benefit

December 5 Making Spirits Bright 6:00pm

January 2013 30 Years of Forward Movement

Raise a glass in support of our mission. Taste 12 hard-to-find, exquisite wines from the Oregon and California coasts, paired with signature hors d’oeuvres. For reservations or sponsorship information call Keegan at 714.541.8314 ext. 140 or visit

Join us in the season of caring at our annual Holiday celebration. Enjoy festive food, tree decorating, and holiday activities with our students. Tree and toy donations welcome. For more information or to RSVP, contact Susie at 714.541.8314 ext. 115 or

Thanks to all of you who have helped us thrive since 1983. We look forward to celebrating throughout the year and sharing the stories of triumph your support has made possible.

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

Supporter Spotlight


The Wooden Floor is at the forefront of closing the college attainment gap for under-served and diverse communities by using the transformative power of dance to help our students break the cycle of poverty and as a means to achieve economic independence. This fall, as our Class of 2012 graduates join their fellow alumni and enter universities and colleges across the nation, they continue to express their gratitude for the dance education and mentoring

they received at The Wooden Floor. Throughout their 10 years in the dance studio, they learned that the skills they needed to break through physical and mental barriers are many of same ones that they will continue to use in school and in life… long-term visioning, planning, perseverance, and ultimately self-reliance. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews and Kelly stated, “We define grit as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining

Class Partners Help Students Soar Knowing the importance of having a healthy community is not something new to Sharon and her husband Terry, founder and former CEO of PacifiCare Health Systems. Both are active supporters of their community, translating values learned as young adults into a way to live by. “I volunteered with the Red Cross and hospitals in high school. I tutored in college,” remembers Sharon. Terry says giving back was something he learned from his parents. “Always willing to help family and friends when they were in need,” he says. Sharon and Terry joined The Wooden Floor community after the PacifiCare Foundation was invited to attend the Annual Concert at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in the 1990s. They continue to attend the performances, each year introducing new friends. They say The Wooden Floor and its Annual Concert are “bringing in great choreographers to work with students,” which is just one reason they are so devoted to the organization’s mission. “There are so many components to making The Wooden Floor an organization we want to support,” says Sharon, “and they are efficient with the use of their dollars, money is not wasted and long-term goals and expectations are set out and achieved.” For years, Sharon and Terry have lent their time and resources to growing The Wooden Floor’s mission. Both have served on the Board of Directors, made financial commitments, and donated items such as Christmas trees to families who would otherwise go without. They even hosted a birthday party where partygoers donated to The Wooden Floor instead of purchasing gifts. Spreading the word about the organization is also important. Sharon can often be found wearing her “I am The Wooden Floor” t-shirt. “We believe others should support The Wooden Floor because it’s an organization where the rubber meets the road,” note Sharon and Terry. “You can really see the life changes that happen with the dancers as they raise their standard of belief in themselves. The Wooden Floor is assisting their families in becoming better parents, dealing with crises in their lives, holding dancers accountable for grades, providing tutoring and mentoring programs, and contributing to the success of the graduates—a community we are so proud of spurs our continued passion.” 2 The Wooden Floor | fall 2012

Imagine watching an entire class of students graduate high school on time and pursue higher education —many the first in their family to do so. When you become a Class Partner, you do just that by investing in a graduating class of students at The Wooden Floor. Support from Class Partners helps provide under-served youth with the tools to build an academic plan, starting in 7th grade. This makes on-time high school graduation and college enrollment a reality. Since 2005, 100 percent of our seniors have achieved this goal, at a rate about three times the national average for their peers. As a family or a business, becoming a Class Partner offers a unique, customizable menu of engagement opportunities for your family or employees to enjoy with a designated class of students—from participation in Career Nights and college tours, to one-on-one mentoring and pen pal relationships. To find out more on how you or your business can play an active role in advancing student success as a Class Partner, contact Keegan Bell at 714.541.8314 ext. 140 or

Building the Successful College Pathway For most of our students, there are many obstacles to overcome in order to pursue higher education. Tackling them begins the first day of classes at The Wooden Floor. This year’s third graders will be referred to as the Class of 2022 for the entirety of their 10-year path, instilling the goal of college in their minds. Upon reaching the 7th grade, students enter into an intensive pre-collegiate mentoring program with staff. Building upon the creative problem solving and self-discipline these students learn on the dance floor, they strive toward the ultimate goal of graduating high school on time and enrolling in college. The Need for Pre-Collegiate Mentoring



National percentage of Latino students who receive a high school diploma (Source: Education Week)

National percentage of Latino students who enroll in college (Source: Pew Hispanic Center)



Percentage of graduates from The Wooden Floor who complete high school and enroll in higher education

National percentage of students who felt they weren’t prepared for college (Source: GOOD)


Career Nights

Students as young as 7th grade envision their futures at quarterly career panels hosted by professionals from a spectrum of sectors.


Sharon & Terry Hartshorn

SAT Test Prep

Parents, most of whom have never attended college, and students learn about the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and outside scholarship opportunities.

College Counseling

College Tours

Visits to local institutions provide first-hand insight into deciding which school is the best fit for the student.


With the help of the College Prep Coordinator, sophomores and juniors search out career fields and prospective schools.

Academic Planning

Financial Aid Workshops

The College Prep Coordinator walks each student through the application process, helps secure transcripts, and coaches them on writing their entrance essays.

Students learn the essentials of positive first impressions, interview etiquette, conversation skills, and managing a professional image.

College & Career Research


Juniors participate in an intensive 6-week course aimed at increasing their SAT scores.


Interviewing & Professional Skills

Sophomores begin ongoing check-ins to ensure they are meeting rigorous course requirements to apply to public and private universities.


ongoing support to 130 alumni in college

. G

% Scholarship Awards & Supplemental Aid

Graduates receive meritbased 4-year scholarships in addition to need-based scholarships due to financial hardship.

mmm Mentoring, Networking & On-Campus Support

The College Prep Coordinator mentors alumni and ensures that community college students have a plan to transfer to 4-year schools. Alumni are encouraged to form on-campus support groups.

effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course.”

to stay the course to reach and achieve their full potential in life.

Dawn S. Reese Executive Director and Co-CEO, The Wooden Floor

This fall, 130 alumnae of The Wooden Floor will be attending colleges and universities around the country, and 80% of them will receive a merit-based scholarship.

After our Annual Auditions in October, the marathon will begin for our new students, the Class of 2022. Together with your continued advocacy and support, we will challenge them

The Wooden Floor Newsfeed October 1-19 The Wooden Floor makes its annual return into local school districts providing nearly 3,000 low-income students with free week-long dance immersion courses called Dance Free Weeks. Students leave with a sense of accomplishment and are encouraged to attend the organization’s Annual Auditions. August 6-18 Select dancers at The Wooden Floor challenged themselves technically at Backhausdance’s Summer Intensive at Chapman University. August 5 8th and 9th grade students at The Wooden Floor attended UC Irvine’s Center for Investment and Wealth Management’s Financial Literacy Summer Residential Program at the Paul Merage School of Business where they lived on campus, ventured on field trips, and attended workshops on budgeting, debt, stocks, charitable contributions, and healthy consumer spending habits. July 28-August 3 7th and 8th grade students of The Wooden Floor finished up summer programs sponsored by partner community organizations. At the Girls Inc. Eureka! program, girls developed their skills in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Pacific Symphony’s Arts-X-Press uses arts education to foster creative exploration.

6th Annual


A Wine Tasting Benefit for The Wooden Floor

The sell-out Keep the Promise Wine Tasting Benefit returns this September for the sixth consecutive year. Held at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, guests will taste from 12 exquisite wines, each hand-selected by wine enthusiasts and longtime supporters John and Janice Markley. Each wine is rated an average of 95+ points and retails for up to $110 per bottle. Wine Spectator’s #1 rated Wine of the Year for 2011, the 2009 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, and the 2006 Kistler Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard are two of the headliners. Since its inception, proceeds from this Benefit have netted nearly half a million dollars for The Wooden Floor’s unique dance, academic, and family service programs, allowing us to keep the promise we make to each of our students: “From here, you can step anywhere.” Event Details

Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 6:00pm Big Canyon Country Club Newport Beach, California

The evening

• Strolling blind wine tasting competition • Artfully-prepared hors d’oeuvres • Silent wine auction • Opportunity drawings • Sharing student success • Giving opportunities

Sponsorships & Tickets

• Sponsorships start at $2,500 • View sponsorship benefits online at • Individual tickets are $350 per person ($250 tax-deductible)


This event sells out every year. Please respond early with the enclosed envelope or online at by September 17, 2012.

Keep the promise sponsors to date include: Premier: Joan & Don Beall • Janice & John Markley Silver Medal: Ginnie & Rich Hunsaker • MVE Institutional • PIMCO Foundation Bronze Medal: Credit Suisse • The Ezralow Company • Jan & Frank Foster • Frome Family Foundation Nancy and Geoffrey Stack Family Foundation • Newmark Realty Capital, Inc. • Orange Coast Magazine Riverstone Residential Group • William & Nancy Thompson Copper Medal: Glennda Adair • Anaheim Ducks & Honda Center • The Caporale Family • Corinthian Colleges, Inc. Crevier Family Fund • Sandy DeAngelis & Ed Trotter • Sally & Jim Knapp • Karin Krogius & Scott Mason Newport Beach Magazine • Simon Foundation for Education and Housing • Union Bank The Private Bank Vertical Fund Group • Julie & Justin Wilson • Barbara & Bill Yingling Call Keegan Bell at 714.541.8314 ext. 140 for more information.

July 22-27 Excited campers, many of whom have never left the urban environment, sojourned in nature at sponsored summer camps Yosemite Sierra and Thousand Pines. July 18-20 Students wrapped up an intense 6-week summer dance class schedule with informal showings, proudly displaying their progress for family, friends, and staff of The Wooden Floor. July 12 A health fair was held in partnership with Latino Health Access and grocer Northgate Markets, providing free diabetes, blood pressure, and on-site mammogram screenings, as well as nutrition workshops. July 2 Parents and students participated in a Banking 101 seminar, facilitated in partnership with Bank of America, to learn about applying for loans, selecting bank accounts, and protecting against fraud. June 30 Through the initiative of The Wooden Floor Board Member Kristy Santimyer-Melita, students and alumni strengthened their bodies and minds by completing an intensive 6-session Pilates Mat Training Course entirely underwritten by BASI Pilates, an international education academy. The students who completed the course will have the opportunity to become professional teachers of Pilates mat exercises as a means to earn future income.

Stay up to date and join The Wooden Floor online community on: 3

The Wooden Floor Board of Directors 2012-2013 Ernesto Vasquez, Chair AIA, Founding Partner, McLarand Vasquez Emsiek & Partners Jim Driscoll, VICE CHAIR Community Leader Damien Jordan, Immediate Past Chair General Manager, Retired, American Funds/Capital Group Companies, Inc. Frank Foster, Secretary Principal, Residential Strategies, LLC Richard C. Hunsaker, Treasurer President, Hunsaker Management Glennda Adair Community Leader Joan Beall Community Leader Catherine Chase Senior Vice President, Credit Suisse Private Bank MARIA CIRESE Parent Representative 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 Catherine MacIver Senior Vice President, Bank of America Retail Products Group Danny Melita Community Leader Yvonne R. O’Neill Certified Public Accountant, O’Neill Financial Management Luz Orozco, Parent Representative Community Leader Cyrus Parker–Jeannette Associate Dean of the College of the Arts, California State University, Long Beach DAWN S. REeSE Executive Director and Co-CEO, The Wooden Floor Melanie Ríos Glaser Artistic Director and Co-CEO, The Wooden Floor Kristy Santimyer-Melita Community Leader Jim Slaughter Attorney at Law, Slaughter & Slaughter, LLP Larry Stofko Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer, St. Joseph Health System Susan Whittaker Governance Counsel, St. Joseph Health Ministry Barbara Yingling Community Leader William Yingling III Community Leader Beth Burns, Board Emerita Founder of The Wooden Floor and Artistic Director (’83-’05)

Summer Learning for Young Minds Keeping young minds engaged during the summer months is the primary goal of volunteers Jean Wilson, Ginnie Connolly, and Nancy Leonard, along with the help of local college students, Fabian Mendoza and Matthew Pharis. This group of volunteers runs The Wooden Floor’s annual Summer Reading and Learning Workshops, a program started in 2006 in response to a growing dilemma—students were falling below grade level proficiency in reading, math, and science. “Working with former staff members Myra Duncan and Mario Trejo, we thought creating a summer reading program before the dance classes was a natural choice,” states Jean, who brings with her many years of experience as a high school educator. Students meet twice a week prior to their dance class, selecting books from a hand-picked assortment tailored to topics that spark their interests. In addition to reading, students participate in hands-on science and math experiments, exercising their minds during

Jean and Ginnie, who have made a long commitment to this program are joined this year by Nancy, a year-round volunteer with The Wooden Floor’s tutoring program and substitute teacher with a local school district. “The children keep a journal and write in it every session,” says Nancy. “Their personality, interests, and tidbits about their lives really came through in their writing, and it was wonderful to get to know them and have them get to know us through their writing.”

If you pass by The Wooden Floor on our Annual Auditions Day, it is impossible to miss the line of prospective students and their families that wraps around our building. It is a sea of sweet, hopeful, and earnest faces filled with the desire for a better future. These parents know if their children are selected to join The Wooden Floor, it may be the only chance they have to gain the necessary skills to be successful in life, to be academically prepared, and to be the first in their family to attend college. The day can be one of great celebration and a turning point for many of our families. But it can also be a poignant reminder of the ever growing need in our community. Annual Auditions October 20, 2012

Sponsored by

Experience the Joy of Giving Now and Enjoy Lifetime Income How can you help youth and the arts thrive today at The Wooden Floor while enjoying lifetime income? Charitable gift annuities offer you a way to give now, while you are here to enjoy it, along with three distinct advantages: • Lifetime income • Tax benefits • A lasting legacy So, how does this work? You contribute cash or securities to The Wooden Floor in partnership with the Orange County Community Foundation, and sign a simple agreement. In return, the Community Foundation pays you, or you and your spouse, a guaranteed income for life. Plus, you also receive an immediate tax deduction.

For more information on this opportunity, or how to join The Wooden Floor Legacy Society, please contact Keegan Bell at 714.541.8314 ext. 140 or

Photography by: Kevin P. Casey, Nathan Lammers

4 The Wooden Floor | fall 2012

Honing their skills at such a young age improves their ability to not only comprehend information but also retain it further on into their academic studies—a tool for success. “We have the desire to expand young minds into the great minds of the future,” says Ginnie, who discovered her love for working with students while leading an international cultural exchange program in Mexico.

Every Journey Has a Beginning

Socorro Vasquez, Board Emerita Community Leader

Thank you to the major supporters who have come forward this fall for the students of The Wooden Floor, including:

the summer learning gap. These workshops allow our students to stay academically competitive and are something they normally could not afford. Students saw an average of 15% growth in their proficiency scores after completion of the workshops.

The Dhont Family Foundation

The Rudolph J. and Daphne A. Munzer Foundation

"Dance Up" Fall 2012 - The Newsletter of The Wooden Floor  
"Dance Up" Fall 2012 - The Newsletter of The Wooden Floor  

The Wooden Floor, founded in 1983, is a nonprofit organization in Santa Ana, California that annually gives 375 low‐income youth the tools t...