Program Description

The Top 20 II Dance & Mentoring Program consists of three major components: dance, mentoring, and community service.

Dance. Dance training is the core component of our program. The after-school dance program is generally held Monday through Thursday for 1 to 2.5 hours at schools that are able to accommodate us and may consist of grades 4-12 with dance instructors at each school. The Saturday morning 2-hour program allows participants who attend the after-school classes to come together under the direction of one dance instructor.  Throughout the course of the program, students are introduced to different genres of dance, are taught dance movement combinations and performance preparation. Their dance training is supplemented with lessons in modern dance history, field trips to collegiate and/or professional dance company performances, oral and/or written reflection assignments, and team-building exercises. Students develop critical thinking skills, learn increased body confidence and become more confident. The program culminates with a dance recital or demonstration to provide an opportunity to showcase their talents to families, friends, and community.

Mentoring. This is the most critical aspect of the program as it addresses personal and social topics that young people encounter today. Mentoring is accomplished through educational and fun activities designed to enrich the lives of Top 20 II participants and employs a variety of techniques and experiences to introduce them to subject matter such as healthy eating, leadership, character-building, college and career readiness, and the appreciation of arts and culture. Community leaders present and discuss age-appropriate topics, the dance instructors seize opportunities for informal "teachable" moments, and Top 20, Inc. board members plan more formal activities that support the mentoring component.

In addition, we have identified 20 values "or choices" that we encourage Top 20 II participants to embrace.

The Top 20 Choices are:

   1. Choose academic excellence (the world is full of mediocrity).

   2. Choose to dream and nurture those dreams.

   3. Choose persistence and perseverance.

   4. Choose to think before you act.

   5. Choose to be open to new ideas and experiences.

   6. Choose to provide service to your school and community.

   7. Choose to encourage, enlighten, and energize those around you.

   8. Choose to listen to others to build cooperation.

   9. Choose to love and respect yourself.

10. Choose to learn about the community in which you live.

11. Choose to be drug free.

12. Choose to eat healthy balanced meals each day.

13. Choose to learn about your body so you know when something is wrong.

14. Choose good oral and feminine hygiene.

15. Choose to stay active throughout your life.

16. Choose to treat others as you want to be treated.

17. Choose your words and actions wisely.

18. Choose justice and stand up for what is right.

19. Choose to dress appropriately.

20. Choose to be responsible.

Community Service. The third component of the program introduces girls and boys to the community around them through volunteer and service projects. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in community awareness activities. Through these efforts they learn to: 1) value helping others, 2) discuss emerging issues in the community in a meaningful way, 3) develop interests, skills, and talents, and 4) appreciate social and cultural differences. We believe instilling the value of community service in the children while they are young not only leads to an actively engaged citizen but, also, a more engaged community as a whole.

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