The production of a 90-minute, 200-student dance performance with costumes, lights, and a 400-person audience may be a Herculean labor, but for Meredith Sherman of Groove With Me, it is also a labor of love. Her boundless energy, creativity, and drive allow an agency with only one paid employee to offer 26 free dance classes a week to more than 200 girls in East Harlem, giving them a safe and enriching place to go after school.
No aspect of Groove With Me’s operations goes untouched by Meredith. She recruits volunteers, supervises teachers, does community outreach, schedules classes, produces performances, designs costumes, oversees a social work intern, communicates with parents, and works directly with the girls.
Meredith is an innovator and strives for constant improvement in herself, her program and her girls. The innovative curriculum she created for Groove With Me -- “Who Am I?” -- uses dance, along with other art forms, to engage students in self-discovery. Meredith wrote the entire curriculum, identified volunteer guest artists, and recruited participants for the program.
When Meredith came to Groove With Me, the program was moving to a new space. She ensured a continuity of service during this transition, preventing the program from losing participants. She creates strong community connections through a network of social workers, events including parents’ nights and information fairs at schools, and grassroots marketing in the neighborhood.
Trained as a social worker, Meredith forms strong bonds with the youth at Groove With Me. She forges connections with many young people who are otherwise uncomfortable with adults. Children’s safety is paramount to her, and if a student is not in class, Meredith calls her home immediately to make sure that she is safe.
Meredith’s unique combination of social work skills, artistic talent, and administrative skill make her an invaluable asset to Groove With Me. Through her dance programs, Meredith has a lasting impact on hundreds of at-risk youth every day of the year.