Often times we look at praise dancing as just dance, but others use it to overcome situations they otherwise may not be able to get through on their own.
Kathryn Kay Reed, a Vicksburg native and the founder of I Can Fly Ministries, uses praise dancing as a form of meditation, and she shares her talent–and so much more–with Vicksburg’s youth through the ministry.
I Can Fly Ministries came about in 2007, after Reed did some personal soul searching. As an adult, she was hearing the same complaints about Vicksburg that she once had as an adolescent–about the lack of activities in town for young people. The ministry is Reed’s way to take a stand and change everyone’s stance on her beloved hometown.
Today she uses the ministry to impact the lives of Vicksburg’s young people by combining praise dance with life skills. By doing so, Reed has offered her students a chance to give back to the community while also growing spiritually.
“The ministry is basically mentoring and arts,” she said. “The arts are an avenue to reach the youth, and then once they join, the mentoring actually starts then. The radical thing that they see are the stage performances, the ministry, their frequent trips, conferences, anything that’s fun. … Once they come in, that’s when the mentoring process begins as far as holistically helping them.”
In addition to appealing to their spiritual side, Reed and her staff also focus on helping students maintain a balanced life by introducing a variety of skills.
“When I saw kids struggling in school, you know, different home situations, that’s when I was moved and had a passion to say, ‘OK, how can we better help them?’” Reed said. “That’s when we started adding mentoring sessions, which would [consist] of ACT workshops and culinary classes. We’ve done CPR training and anything we see that they really need. We’ve done a self defense class, and we offer tutoring to our kids. Anything that helps them to be a better person as a whole rather than just walking around dancing.”
As a part of the mentoring and growing process, members of ‘I Can Fly Ministries’ must also prove that they are capable of contributing to society.
“They ( the students) are required to do at least four community service projects per year,” Reed said. “We also go to the nursing home, which they go and dance at, at least once a quarter. New members are required to do a solo there. We just love going to the nursing homes. Those people are in there not necessarily by choice, so we go to give them hope and spread the love because that is what we’re supposed to be doing,” Reed said.
“Even as dancers and mimes we’re supposed to be spreading love.”
For more information about I Can Fly Ministries like them on Facebook at I Can Fly Ministries.