Ballroom dance serving to veterans, first responders and youth one step at a time – Solar Sentinel

It was a magical night for a packed home on the Goldcoast Ballroom as Boca Raton resident Sandi Finci Solomon and her nonprofit Ageless World of Dance placed on a fundraiser of dancing and dinner to learn veterans and kids.

The group’s mission is to bridge communities and folks of all ages by means of the artwork and tradition of ballroom dancing.

The Goldcoast Ballroom in Coconut Creek was remodeled for St. Patrick’s Day for the veterans, Florida Atlantic College college students, dancers and supporters.

However the principle focus was on suicide amongst veterans and repair members, which is a trigger that resonates with Finci Solomon, who has been a proponent for dance ever since she began dancing along with her father as a baby whereas entertaining veterans on the Walter Reed Military Medical Heart in Maryland.

She stated she realized the optimistic psychological and bodily advantages from dance might be prolonged to veterans and the subsequent era of kids and younger adults. The soon-to-be 85-year-old stays on a mission to share the advantages of dance.

Her imaginative and prescient is to maintain youth out of gangs and to maintain veterans protected from self-harm. In 2020, there have been 6,146 veteran suicide deaths, in line with a 2022 report from the U.S. Division of Veterans Affairs.

“That is what we’re attempting to forestall,” Finci Solomon stated. “When veterans discover an exercise like dance that they actually take pleasure in, they look ahead to coming right here. We’ve many relationships and marriages that took place due to dance. Dance is only a very pleasant and glad world.”

Retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Angelo Martinez was surrounded by fellow veterans who have been all smiles as they hit the ballroom dance ground. The Coconut Creek resident is the South Florida coordinator for the Irreverent Warriors group. He served within the Marine Corps for eight years.

United States Marine Corps veteran Angelo Martinez is surrounded by fellow Marine veteran dancers.

“We deliver veterans collectively utilizing humor and camaraderie to enhance psychological well being and stop veteran suicides,” he stated. “With dancing, you might be submerged locally and not in isolation. This improves your psychological well being and you’ve got a good time, and you might be crammed with pleasure that possibly you haven’t skilled in a very long time.”

The aim is to attract veterans out of isolation and get them interacting with members of their group.

“This rings very true to me as a result of in December of 2019 I nearly killed myself,” Martinez stated. “Being with different veterans who’ve skilled what I’ve skilled has modified my life. The sort of exercise retains us alive and thriving. We need to proceed doing a majority of these issues. That is superb to see the group popping out right here to assist us and honor us. To see what Sandi, Lon (Wilkinson) and the sponsors have carried out for us has overwhelmed me with pleasure.”

Finci Solomon’s philanthropic works embody Main Girls, an auxiliary of the Transplant Basis, which led to her being named Girl of the Yr. The Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Choices (JAFCO) named its ballroom the Sandi & Leonard Solomon Grand Ballroom after her and her late husband.

Ageless World of Dance Executive Director Lon Wilkinson and 9-year-old dance partner Catalina Percy show off some of their ballroom dance moves.

“This isn’t my first rodeo,” she stated, smiling. “Our objective is to have just a few tables on the ballroom for veterans, first responders and our youth. We hope to have sponsors assist this by means of our Ageless World of Dance Basis. We welcome everybody.”

She additionally has hosted the Florida Atlantic College scholar ballroom dance membership and serves on a number of school, college and theater advisory boards.

The thought to kind the inspiration began final December when Finci Solomon was dancing with teacher Lon Wilkinson.

“Once I requested Lon his age, I informed him I might be your grandmother and that’s after I got here up with the Ageless World of Dance,” she stated. “You may dance along with your son, grandson or nice grandson. Lon was already instructing veterans the best way to dance in addition to working with nonprofit organizations and I’ve already been working with many youth organizations just like the FAU Ballroom Dance Membership, and we put the 2 collectively.”

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Marina Watkins is president of the Ballroom of FAU dance membership. With a 12-year background of ballet and jazz dance, it was a pure extracurricular exercise for the faculty sophomore.

The Ballroom of FAU dance club students got a chance to show off their moves at the inaugural Ageless World of Dance event.

“Popping out of COVID, I used to be glad to have Sandi attain out to our membership and make us a part of this glorious occasion,” Watkins stated. “We’ve near 60 members total in our membership. We provide a social class each Thursday night time, which is open to all ages and the general public the place we promote dance. I fell in love with ballroom dancing instantly. We love having a relationship with Sandi and the Goldcoast Ballroom.

“What Sandi is doing is an incredible trigger and everybody in our group was begging to come back. There are superb dancers right here and as Sandi says, ‘dance is timeless.’”

Finci Solomon stated dancing is the glue that brings totally different generations collectively.

“Dancing is a recreation the entire household can play, and we thank the Goldcoast Ballroom for internet hosting us,” she stated. “If you end up dancing, persons are smiling and glad doing what they like to do. A person that dances won’t ever be alone, and the ladies will chase him.”

Coast Guard veteran and dancer Sarra Wolfe addresses the Goldcoast Ballroom crowd during the inaugural Ageless World of Dance event.

(Emmett Corridor / Contributor)

Finci Solomon is Ageless World of Dance’s founder and board chairperson with Wilkinson serving as govt director. Edda De Jesus and Allan Weiss are the opposite board members. The nonprofit is looking for donations, sponsors and volunteers.

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