Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Emily Brooks watching a dance class at Salvation Army in St. Paul

How to make a donation dance

Added on Monday, January 28, 2013

Just when you thought teenage girls only cared about boys, clothes and Facebook, along comes Emily Brooks.

Emily, 15, is an unabashed giver. And a creative one at that. Not only did she raise $813 for The Salvation Army by holding a garage sale, she did it with a specific purpose: teach Salvation Army kids how to dance.

Her idea came to fruition late last fall, when about 20 kids served by the Eastside Salvation Army in St. Paul got to enjoy three months of hip-hop dance lessons. A private instructor taught them twice a week.

Young girl taking free dance lessons

“I thought the kids would enjoy it,” said Emily, an avid ballet dancer. “I am very involved in dance lessons at a studio and I believe that every child should have the opportunity to take dance lessons if they want to.”

The lessons culminated with a recital in late December. Emily attended with her mother, Cathy. Both sported perma-grins as they watched the kids giggle and show off their new dance moves.

Afterward, a set of parents ran up to Emily to thank her.

Young students line up to learn a dance“They told Emily that their son loved the dance lessons and they stated very firmly that ‘Music is so important,’” said Jessyca Duerr, Salvation Army Donor Relations Director, who witnessed the powerful moment.

Emily’s giving heart was on display again when door prizes were given out at the event. After winning a $25 grocery store gift card, she gave it back and insisted that it go to one of the families.

“She’s a great kid – I’m so proud,” Cathy said.

Emily’s story illustrates that when it comes to helping others through The Salvation Army, the options are limitless.

“If you can dream it, we can usually make it happen,” said Major Jeff Strickler, Twin Cities Salvation Army Commander. “We applaud young Emily. Her kindness is matched only by her creativity.”