Anna Marie Neubauer
Seventeen-year-old Anna Marie Neubauer has been a volunteer at Dancing Dreams, an organization that helps little girls with developmental disabilities learn to dance, for six years.
“It’s just something I love to do,” said Neubauer, who acts as a “helper” for an 11-year-old Dancing Dreams participant named Monica. Every week, Neubauer attends dance sessions with Monica where she assists her with twirls, bends and lifts. Dancing Dreams was started by Joann Ferrara, a physical therapist who created the program after a young patient expressed desire to become a dancer.
Neubauer is a senior at Archbishop Molloy High School. She lives in Whitestone with her parents and older brother, a student at Loyola University in Maryland. When she is not at school, Neubauer enjoys spending time with her friends and going skiing. Neubauer did not have any dancing experience prior to Dancing Dreams.
Neubauer feels that volunteering has no challenges, just rewards. “I enjoy [participating in Dancing Dreams]” said Neubauer. “It’s helped me grow a lot, and it fulfills me to see how just a little bit of help can help these girls.”
The recitals are Neubauer’s favorite part of Dancing Dreams. “I love seeing the looks on the girls’ faces when their dreams are coming true,” said Naubauer, who also said that her dancer, Monica, has made volunteering for Dancing Dreams a wonderful experience.
Neubauer first discovered Dancing Dreams when she was a patient of Ferrara’s, and has been volunteering ever since. Her main inspiration, however, comes from the girls themselves. “[The girls] are my inspiration,” said Neubauer. “To see their hard work – they look so beautiful doing it.”