I also write for / Scriu si pentru

I also write for / Scriu si pentru

Revista Tango Romania

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Tré Armstrong Give Back" Foundation Launched in Toronto: An Interview with Tré Armstrong

Monday August 15th 2011 – Canadian TV celebrity, dancer, choreographer, actress and “So You Think You Can Dance Canada” Judge Tré Armstrong is bringing the Spirit of Dance by launching her new not-for-profit foundation “Tré Armstrong Give Back” based in Toronto. The event was marked by a fabulous party held at The Spoke Club in Toronto, 600 King Street West. The mission of the new foundation is clear, to make dance and creative artistic expression accessible to the youth across Canada, that may otherwise not have the opportunity, and to inspire their artistic hopes, dreams and passions. Dance empowers people and Tré wants to give that empowerment to all youth, regardless of their circumstances and in some cases, because of just who they are! The “Tré Armstrong Give Back” Foundation will focus on developing life skills through enjoyable youth programming and performing arts at the community level alongside educational classes and seminars, promoting continued learning along with the development of key life and social skills. The “Tré Armstrong Give Back” Foundation believes every child should be allowed to explore their inner “spirit of dance”.

I had the pleasure of attending this glamorous event and interviewing Tré Armstrong on her new foundation.

Victoria West: How did the idea of the “Tré Armstrong Give Back” Foundation appear?

Tré Armstrong: In 2007 I rented a dance studio for 3 hours, held three classes and had 30 participants. And it was all for FREE! I figured there was something to this, and at Christmas in 2009 I held another event called Give Back, giving a full day of free dance classes while raising money and food for charity. Now, in 2011, we just finished our 4th Give Back event, with over 400 kids, 25 dance and movement classes and so much more!

VW: What were the steps you had to take to start and launch the foundation?

TA: Talk to a lot of people who have opened up a foundation in the past that are still successful, as well as speak to those already in the not-for-profit sector to find out the DOs and DON’Ts. Then, assembling my Board of Directors, Executive Director and pillars of the foundation came next. Finally, legalizing was the final first step, of many more to come I assume, lol.

VW: Who helped you along the process?

TA: All my Board of Directors, Executive Director, current youth dance program participants, my mother, brothers and family, close friends, many volunteers and of course God.

VW: You dedicate your work to children and youth. How will they benefit from the “Tré Armstrong Give Back” Foundation?

TA: We will have free dance programming across Canada for youth ages 7+. Our foundation's mission is to make performing arts more accessible to our nation's future leaders. Our aim is to make available scholarships and awards for various areas of dance and their performance artists and artistic institutions.

VW: Are there any criteria by which children and youth to benefit from the “Tré Armstrong Give Back” Foundation will be selected?

TA: A non-biased selection format will be used at all times.

VW: What are the objectives of the “Tré Armstrong Give Back” Foundation in the near future?

TA: To continue The Give Back Event at Canada's National Ballet School in Toronto and expand it across Canada, host a national youth dance event to increase awareness to the fact that “Dance Saves Lives” and raise money to continue youth initiatives such as D-Tour, an urban dance program run in underserved communities.

VW: In the long run, what are your expectations and what do you hope to accomplish with the “Tré Armstrong Give Back” Foundation?

TA: Continued financial support is what is needed at this point in order to bring dance and performing arts programming to places like Winnipeg, Halifax, Brampton and Calgary. We really want this foundation to solidify its synergetic work with various partners in the community at large so that we can continue to bring more free youth programming to areas across Canada that truly need and deserve the engagement. Dance saves lives, literally, and I am living proof.

For more information on the “Tré Armstrong Give Back” Foundation please visit www.trefoundation.org.

Photo: Victoria West

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