Volunteer Spotlight: Caryn Cooper, Makes Dance Happen!

Dance Parade, Inc. is a volunteer supported non-profit organization and it is the dedication, expertise and passion of these individuals that make our events so successful!

In each issue of STEPS!, we choose a different volunteer to spotlight. We ask them a few questions about the magic they help create within the Dance Parade experience.  Check out how you can volunteer for the May 20th 2017 Parade by clicking here!

Hi Caryn, thanks for making time to speak with me about your volunteer experience at Dance parade!

How did you first find out about Dance Parade?

I first heard about Dance Parade a few years ago, but didn’t know much about it. It wasn’t until the winter of 2016 that I was covering the LIFT OFF Party for Broadway World Dance. I really enjoyed the vibe, the diversity of the performances/dancers, and wanted to learn more. It was then, I was curious and wanted to attend the parade. Am excited to return to LIFT OFF this Sunday after working the last few months as a volunteer!
What is your current role in Dance Parade, Inc. ?
I currently have a duel-role: I help out with the Community Engagement (education) programs and assist with Government Outreach, connecting the elected officials who can help this amazing non-profit organization.
What is your favorite style of dance to watch? to participate in? 
I don’t know if I can pick a favorite style to watch, but my favorite dance to participate in has always been tap!
What is your dance background or interest in dance?
I started dancing at a young age. Growing up, I attended a ballet school where I studied Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) for eight years. But I also studied other forms such as tap, jazz, hip hop, and West African.
If you could share the stage with anyone in history famous or not, living or deceased, a trained dancer or not, performing a routine choreographed by yourself…who would it be?
I would love to dance with the Nicholas Brothers!
What does this year’s theme “Dance for Peace” mean to you?
In light of many recent events (and there are far too many to name), we find ourselves in a time of uncertainty, division, and fear. The theme “Dance for Peace” to me means that we need to come together and unite for a positive cause. We are all different and come from different places, but now is the time to celebrate the diversity that makes us who are we.
What dance group or dance style are you most looking forward to seeing this coming year in the parade? 
I’m looking forward to seeing all the amazing diversity. I’m also looking forward to seeing styles of dance that I am familiar with and those I am not.
If you could pick another country to hold a Dance Parade and Festival….which would it be? 
I would be interested to hold a Dance Parade and Festival in Canada.
Volunteering at a non profit organization can at times be daunting and frustrating with limited personnel and limited funding….what is it that keeps you coming back for more and more? Although volunteering at a nonprofit has its limitations, what keeps me coming back is that the work I am doing is needed to make an impact on people’s lives. Many corporations are out here for their own interests to make money and will take advantage of people to get more money in their pocket. The work we and so many nonprofits do is to help makes this world a better place to live. The times when I see the impact I am making in someone’s life, it reminds me why I do what I do and keep coming back to do more.

Describe a special memory you have from Dance Parades past?  I really enjoyed being able to watch the 2016 parade for the first time. It was amazing being with so many people from different walks of life come together for one reason- to see and enjoy dance.