Merrimack dance club members find joy teaching youth
The Merrimack Dancers are sharing their passion this year with the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence to teach young children how to move to the beat.
“It feels special to me and I can do my own thing,” said 8-year-old Kayla Martinez, of Lawrence, in between routines. Kayla was among a throng of children who took a field trip to the Sakowich Campus Fitness Center to practice with the dance club and volunteers from Andover High School on a recent Saturday.
Megan McCoy ’18, of Atkinson, N.H., is a human development major with a focus on education who spearheaded the drive to reincarnate Merrimack’s dance club. It’s got about 30 dancers this semester. The 19-year-old has been dancing since she was three years old and started volunteering as a mentor and dance instructor at the Boys & Girls Club while in Central Catholic High School, of Lawrence, Mass. before eventually getting a job there as an instructor.
She’s got a busy schedule at Merrimack but still works at the Boys & Girls Club.
“I am very busy in college but I can’t tear myself away from those kids because they love it so much and I love it so much,” McCoy said. “I love teaching them because I love seeing them grow as dancers just as I did at their age.”
During the recent lesson at the fitness center, McCoy was joined by other members of the Dancers, including Haley O’Hara ’18, a business and marketing major from Topsfield, Mass.; Rebeka Wierzbicki ’19, an English major with a minor in philosophy from Wilmington, Mass.; and Christina Lannon ’18, a human development and elementary education major from Lynn, Mass.; along with Andover High School student volunteers Sadie Reppucci and Anna Root.
“I really enjoy dance and dancing with kids,” O’Hara said. “I love to help and teach them but these kids are so good sometimes they teach you something.”
Wierzbicki has always loved to dance but this is the first year she’s learned formal numbers and is happy to learn from her peers and the younger children, including how to salsa.
“They teach you a lot,” she said. “They are always happy, they love to dance; it puts me in a good mood.”
Lannon, who’s been dancing since she was 5-years-old, said she’s learned some things about herself from volunteering as an instructor for the children.
“They definitely teach you the happiness of life,” she said. “I’ve learned I have a real passion for it and the kids are always optimistic.”