BEVERLY, Mass.- The Endicott dance team recently partnered with "You're With Us!", a non-profit group that creates inclusion opportunities for young adults with disabilities.
The Gulls had the pleasure of adding Caroline Shea, a 20-year-old from Beverly, Mass, to their roster. Caroline, who has Down syndrome, spent Thursday November 5th practicing with the team and meeting her new teammates. Coach Sao Pedro-Welch along with sophomores Bailey Schoefer (Pleasanton, Calif.), Jamie Nickerson (Plymouth, Mass.) and Danielle Chabot (Worcester, Mass.) were integral in building the relationship with Caroline, her family, and the representatives from "You're With Us!"
"The team and I are really excited to have Caroline as a part of our family," said Endicott dance head coach Nicole Sao Pedro-Welch. "She is a special young lady who shares a passion for dance and we are looking forward to having her contribute to our team in many different ways"
Caroline has established this passion for dance through her involvement with Boston Ballet Adaptive Dance Program which she has been a part of for several years. Caroline graduated from Beverly High School in June of 2015 where she was part of the chorus and music theater programs. She participated in the spring musicals each year at Beverly High School, with 2-3 dance roles in each performance.
About "You're With Us!"
You're With Us! is a non-profit organization that creates inclusion opportunities for young adults (14+) who, because of their disabilities, are not part of a group, community or activity that would be typical of their abled peers.
Children with disabilities often feel different and excluded from normal social opportunities. You're With Us! aids these young adults in belonging to a group and receiving the benefits young people would typically receive from out of school activities. Benefits of this inclusion flow in both directions. Children with disabilities have the potential to influence those around them -- a special ability to open people up to compassion, empathy and leadership. Further, You're With Us! seeks to change the perceptions of disabled young people who believe they are separate and excluded by helping them become part of the communities centered on the activities that they enjoy. In turn, their new peers in these communities, who may have thought of children with disabilities as "other' or different, now find them to be friends, teammates and even family.
All people are healthiest when they feel safe, supported, and connected to others in their neighborhoods and communities. The inclusion of children with disabilities in these communities provides the essential social skills and leadership tools to allow them to lead a full life.