In 2018, Author and International Speaker, Ridgely Goldsborough, was moved to visit the Advocates of Love Children’s Home. He was deeply motivated to share with his young daughter, Camille, the experience of how others live in other countries under difficult circumstances.
Upon arriving and spending time with the vivacious and spirited children, Ridgely recalls that a deep love formed in his heart. Their smiles, their energy, and the Advocates of Love mission touched his life permanently.
He says, “It is such a noble endeavor to create hope and provide the tools and skills to enable young people to move forward and thrive. It is an honor and privilege to be associated with [the] mission.”
As for Camille, the trip left an imprint on her that has shaped her and her work as years have gone by.
Camille, now 19, is an artist and a classically-trained ballet dancer, who also enjoys contemporary, swing, and Latin dancing. She has a deep love for creating movement with music of all kinds. She is currently going into her third year as a professional dancer with The Los Angeles Ballet Company.
Camille began dancing at age two and has not stopped since! She began her training in Florida in small studios before moving away from home at 15 in search of a higher caliber of ballet training needed to become a professional ballerina. She has trained with San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, The Vaganova school in Saint Petersburg, Russia, The School at Steps on Broadway, Ballet Academy East, City Ballet of San Diego, and more.
At the time when she experienced Advocates of Love, she was searching for a way to give back what she felt so blessed to pursue. She wanted to share the gifts of movement and help children who hadn’t been exposed to classical dance the freedom one experiences when the music begins.
She says, “I feel very fortunate to have found AOL as it aligns so well with my desire to share what has been given to me.”
Years after visiting, she still remembers her mission trip as though it were just yesterday.
“My experience was both inspiring and eye-opening. I had never traveled to a third-world country before the Dominican Republic. Seeing the new culture and shocking differences from what I am accustomed to, expanded my view of the world and helped me grow as a young person,” Camille says.
When asked about what she remembered most, she shared, “Dancing with the kids was an absolute life highlight for me. Watching them practice their new skills while leaping across the room with smiles on their faces is a memory I will forever cherish.”
Camille had creative control over what she wanted to bring the children. She started each day by sharing with the girls important aspects of being a ballerina. She taught them how to style their hair in a ballet bun, what to wear for class, and taught them stretches to warm up. Once everyone was ready, the dancing began.
“To watch the kids let go of their fear, jump in and dance was immensely rewarding–maybe even more for her than for them,” she told us.
When she returned to the United States, she felt so impacted by the trip and motivated to do more. That led her to form Dance Dominican.
DanceDominican.com is a non-profit organization founded with the goal to share the beauty of dance with children that do not have access to this art form.
- For anyone who would like to get involved, here are some options!
- Share the incredible stories of the children
- Make a donation.
If you are a dancer or a person with art to share, I welcome you to reach out and join us on our next trip!
If you would like to enrich your life by enriching the lives of others, consider planning a Mission Trip or joining one of ours.