What We Do

  • Creative Movement and Dance Classes for Children with Special Needs

    Performing Hearts provides weekly, dance facility-based creative movement, ballet and tap classes for children from Morris, Sussex, and Passaic counties. Performing Hearts also provides workshops for children under the care of organizations providing services to children with special needs. For example, Performing Hearts workshops may be held in schools or camps dedicated to those individuals. Workshops for children with serious illnesses are usually conducted in hospitals or in hospital-like facilities.

    Performing Hearts special events are conceived, arranged, and conducted by local volunteers who schedule the events based on the availability and preferences of the organizations being served. For example, if a volunteer group has an interest in visiting a camp for children with disabilities, the schedule might be limited to the summer if the camp is a seasonal facility. On the other hand, if the volunteer group was interested in visiting a children’s hospital, the activity could be arranged subject to the availability of the hospital’s facilities and appropriate staff.

  • Education and Motivation

    Performing Hearts is committed to promoting, encouraging, and educating the public regarding the performing arts as an important and cherished activity for children with mental and physical impairments and serious health issues.

  • Fundraising

    Performing Hearts receives its operating resources from contributions - in many cases, from unsolicited donors and others as a direct result of fundraising activities. Performing Hearts is exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Fundraising that is ongoing includes primarily website-based and direct solicitations. Special event fundraising is based on one-time and annual events such as theater-based variety shows, annual gala / dinner dance and annual golf outings. Performing Hearts funding comes from three principle sources: (1) Contributions from the general public, predominantly individuals close to performing arts activities; (2) Contributions from corporate sponsors in the form of cash and supplies for the community service events; and (3) Performing Hearts conducted fundraising events such as theatrical performances provide additional funding thru ticket sales proceeds, and the sale of donated materials through event-based sales and auctions. You may make contributions through this website by clicking => Contribute (and following the instructions).

  • Volunteering

    Performing Hearts’ primary goal is to arrange for performing artists to serve as volunteer workshop leaders, class teachers and performers for social service agencies and other organizations operated by a state or local government or organizations that qualify as exempt under 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code focused on helping people disabled with mental and physical impairments and serious health issues. Performing Hearts activities are conducted by volunteers from the community including performing artists, and any other interested individuals. In many cases, those ‘other interested’ individuals are teachers, friends and family members of the performing artists. Volunteer community service functions are conducted throughout the calendar year. As a great number of the volunteers are students, many of the non-recurring ‘special events’ are conducted on weekend days and during the summer.

  • Sample Program #1 — Camp Happy Times
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    Our trip to Camp Happy Times was great! Camp Happy Times is located on a beautiful lake setting in Tyler Hill, Pensylvania. The Valerie Fund sponsors the camp which hosted 175 young people and 100 volunteers during the last week in August. Our first impressions were wonderful. Although the camp was only in its 3rd day, it seemed like everyone we met felt "at home." We couldn't help but feel that we were becoming part of a larger family. Camp Happy Times is dedicated to providing a true summer camp environment to young people who are battling cancer and blood disorders. The Director, Millie Finkel, keeps the ship on course. She kept us focused on making the experience for the campers one where they participated rather than just observing. Boy did they participate! We conducted three workshops close to 2 hours each. The counselors and the campers learned several jazz routines very quickly. We demonstrated once or twice, practiced 2 or 3 times without music, and then, blasted the music and danced away. The lunch break provided a needed rest...then back to the dance floor. At the end of each session, we performed a few of our tap routines. The kids were incredibly interested and supportive.......... At the end of the day, we felt that we had really shared a fun time with the kids, our peers. Millie and her staff made it easy for us. The facilities were great and they encouraged the kids to participate by their example... I think the counselors got a real workout! On our way home, we reflected on how our anxieties regarding how the day would work out had vanished almost instantly upon arriving at Camp Happy Times, replaced by a warm feeling that will never be forgotten. Thank you to all the kids and volunteers who helped us make a little difference. We look forward to visiting again.
  • Sample Program #2 — Wagon Road Camp
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    Our trip to Wagon Road Camp was a great success for all! Wagon Road Camp is operated by The Children’s Aid Society and is located on 52 beautiful wooded acres in Chappaqua, NY. Their Respite Program provides year-round camping experiences for physically and developmentally disabled children whose families would otherwise not be able to afford such specialized programming. Respite campers are constantly challenging themselves by participating in all kinds of new activities. The Children’s Aid Society and the staff at Wagon Road Camp were very supportive of the team from Performing Hearts. We were able to conduct two one-hour sessions featuring a movement workshop and dance performances. The campers really responded to the upbeat music from “Carwash.” They couldn’t seem to get enough of the dance movements and combinations! More about the camp… Through a combination of Children's Aid Society scholarships and New York State Funds, children ages 7-17 with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, autism, Down syndrome, mental retardation, and neurological impairments spend their week- and weekend-long breaks at Wagon Road. They offer 40 campers per session the unique opportunity to participate in many of the same camp activities available to their more able-bodied peers.... One of the things that made our visit so special was the way in which the camp director, Vince Canziani, the program director, James, and all the volunteers worked side-by-side with our team to make the event enjoyable for all the campers. Another special aspect of this event was the collaboration of dancers from different dance studios from New York and New Jersey.