Years ago, bi-coastal dance teacher, Sammy Zweben, sat down with her very young dancers. They discussed how lucky they were to be able to dance, and wanted to give back to those who couldn’t. DANCE 4a CAUSE was created because they wanted to make difference in the world… even a small one. Sammy had no idea that one conversation with those children would turn into A DOZEN YEARS OF GIVING BACK.
She had a vision. She wanted her students to choreograph their own dances, put together their own costumes, cut music on their own, and ask people – preferably – other than their parents for a donation in a creative way. They talked about thinking outside of the box, what that meant and how to accomplish it. Children have made and sold t-shirts, bracelets, bows, food and magnets. They have begged their teachers and principals to allow them to raise money on school grounds. They have gone to the Student Government Association and asked if their mission of the year could be to help DANCE 4a CAUSE give back. They have learned what it is to be nervous to ask, be told ‘no’ and ASK AGAIN.
12 years ago, (at the first DANCE 4a CAUSE event) there were a few raffle baskets, a couple donated food items and Sammy put on the first ever DANCE 4a CAUSE. She raised around $3,000 the first year and last year she raised over $23,000!
Over the years Sammy’s raised money for Susan G. Komen, ONE IS GREATER THAN NONE, DREA’S DREAM/The Andrea Rizzo Foundation, HOLTON’S HEROES, Make-A-Wish and collected over two hundred fancy dresses for OUR FAIRY GODMOTHER. They gave the dresses to women and children affected by poverty, disease and disaster.
Through her event, Sammy has raised well over $150,000 and continues to add to that total. She has worked so closely with Make-A-Wish (and has raised so much for them) that she was named a Make-A-Wish Ambassador.
Through the years, she has held so many smaller events that add to her huge donation total. She has held Chipotle and Panera nights, art shows, countless bake sales, pizza and pretzel stands, clothing pop-ups, donation based yoga and pilates classes, handmade craft tables and so much more. She has always believed that every penny counts, and their is no donation too small or too large.
Sammy has pledged to host 12 different charity events this year to celebrate her dozen years of giving back.
So far this year, she has held a special needs dance class to children affected by traumatic brain injuries through HOLTON’S HEROES. She is currently hosting an online fundraiser where people can buy new apparel to commemorate the 12th year of DANCE 4a CAUSE and all proceeds go to Make-A-Wish of NJ. At the end of November, she will hold a KICK 4a CAUSE karate class where children will learn basic karate skills and raise money for charity! There will also be a swim night, workout class, performance at an assisted living home and more to celebrate the 12th year.
During this 12th year of DANCE 4a CAUSE, Sammy has committed to raise as much money and awareness as possible. She knows how lucky she is to be alive, healthy, happy and dancing.
Sammy thanks Theatre 31 for always having her ‘home’ when she’s on the west coast. She is forever inspired by her students all over the county.