We are Ava and Sophia Paley and we started Donate2Dance in February 2018 when we realized our closets were over stuffed with dance shoes, costumes and dancewear. We have each been dancing (tap, jazz, ballet and hip hop) since we are each 5 years old. So we had A LOT of dance items! We set up a Donate2Dance bright, pink donation bin at Shuffles on the Upper West Side where we dance and a week later it was overflowing with donations. We realized at that moment we were on to something big. To date, we have helped over 6,000 dancers around the world from Africa to Minnesota and Chicago to Costa Rica. The best part of Donate2Dance is receiving the pictures of the dancers and seeing their smiling faces as they dance in a new costumes or dance in their first pair of tap shoes. We have several goals as we grow D2D. One is to continue to set up donation bins around the country at local dance studios/dance stores so that they can support their local dance/dancers programs in need. Researching schools and dance stores who want to partner with is and connecting them to dance programs in need is our big goal. We have also raised money from bake sales and GoFundMe so that we can continue to ship donations. We want to figure out other ways to continue to raise money through grant writing so that we can continue to ship big boxes of donations around the world to dancers in need!Updates from Donate2Dance
We are Ava (16) and Sophia (14) Paley and we are life-long tap dancers who started Donate2Dance.org when we realized we had closets overstuffed with old costumes, dance shoes and dancewear. Our mission is to send dance donations to dancers in need and dancers with special needs around the world. Every year, as our feet continued to grow, we would end up buying new shoes (sometimes twice a year!) and storing the old pairs in our closets. One day we realized that we had years worth of amazing costumes and shoes that just didn’t fit us anymore! We also realized that there must be dancers out there who love to dance and who are in need of costumes and proper shoes! And because of these realizations… Donate2Dance was born in February 2018!
Our first step was to set up a donation bin at Shuffles, our dance school on the Upper West Side in NYC. Our mom’s friend donated her time and created a logo for us and we printed gigantic panels to cover a cardboard donation bin. A week after we set up a bin at Shuffles it was OVERFLOWING with donations! It was at that moment that we realized we were really on to something big!
From there, we started to do a lot of research: we researched dance schools around the country in need and we researched other dance studios who would want to have their own Donate2Dance bin. We also reached out to big companies like Capezio, Bloch, PrimaSoft, Moret Kids and many others and asked if they would donate any extra samples they have. We also enlisted a few dance friends to volunteer their time and help us with all of this research. Together, we found a lot of great programs in need in the tri-state area and beyond and also partnered with dance schools and stores who wanted their own Donate2Dance donation bin. Ballet Academy East was one of our first schools to join us in our mission as well as OnStage Dancewear on Madison Avenue and Manhattan Movement Center on the westside too. Once the bins were set up at locations, donations started to fill up the bins—it was amazing! It was at this time too that we came up with the hashtag #DancersHelpingDancers because that’s what it IS really about!
To date, we have shipped over 7,500 dance shoes, costumes and dancewear items. We ship to over 95 underprivileged dance schools in New York City, Philadelphia, Texas, Florida, Nevada, California, Tennessee, Oregon, Canada Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Africa and many more who are excited to accept donations. The names of such programs are: Rosie O’Donnell’s Rosie’s Theater Kids, Idina Menzel’s The Broader Way, Miami City Ballet, Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy, Dancing Dreams, Boys and Girls Club in LA (where Misty Copeland got her start!), Performing School in Puerto Rico, The Bronx House, Arts for Autism, Cleveland City Dance, Orlando Ballet School and many, MANY more. Some of these schools cater to children with special needs while others can’t afford beautiful costumes or dance shoes.
We have had many memorable moments during our journey. One amazing moment was receiving suitcases donated from Kenneth Cole and filling them with costumes and handing them off to professional dancers who were flying to Malawi, Africa to help dancers perform their first Nutcracker. Donate2Dance was able to supply the dancer school with costumes so that they could perform! Another heart-warming memory is donating over 200 costumes to P.S. 157 in Brooklyn so they could start their dance program and then visiting their school and teaching them how to tap dance!
Truly, there are SO many amazing moments and memories that we could list. We really love receiving pictures of dancers in the donations we have sent them—seeing their faces of joy and excitement reminds us of the important work we are doing and the importance of giving back to the dance community.
Recently, we started an official Donate2Dance Ambassador Program where dancers can receive our logo and partner with us to set up a donation bin at their local dance school for either community service hours or their church/Bat Mitzvah project. It has been an amazing success! We then pair the dancer off with a program in his/her local town so they can donate directly to a program in need.
We ship boxes of donations to programs weekly and sometimes daily. We have raised money from bake sales, Bar and Bat Mitzvah gifts and our Go Fund Me page. We are excited and honored to receive the grant Call For Kindness grant from Riley’s Way because we are going to be able to continue to pay for the shipping of donations!
Our new goal, now that we have this grant money, is that we want to start growing internationally. We have already partnered with a dance store in the UK who continues to send us boxes of new tap shoes but we would also like to find programs in need throughout Europe and grow our outreach and help dancers in need all over the world!
With the pandemic, we have been busier than ever! Dancers are home and cleaning out their closets so we have been receiving boxes of donations- daily!
We look forward to the future of Donate2Dance to continue to grow and help all dancers!
xo, Ava and Sophia
Go online and find a donation bin near you: www.donate2dance.org
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org