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  • Writer's pictureLindsey St Onge

We Can't Stop Moving

Students across the US aren't receiving anywhere near the amount of movement and physical activity required to remain healthy. Physical activity in school has been deprioritized. How can dance education help? Arts education has always been under-supported in the American public education system. To give a little context, $225.99 million has been allocated in 2023 to the National Endowment of the Arts. This sounds like a lot but when you compare it to the 1.7 trillion allocation to the 2023 budgetary resources for the Department of Defense, $225.9 million is anemic at best. Now I am by no means suggesting the two deserve equal budgetary resources as the stakes, outcomes, and resources would be an egregious false equivalency. However, it does beg to question, if there is a truly incomprehensible amount of funds floating around, is the USA capable of ranking arts education a peg higher on its priority list? Probably yes but probably not anytime soon. Movement Exchange is a nonprofit dedicated to providing dance and movement education to underserved communities across the US and in Panama. Naturally, we are interested in the access children have to physical activity and education. According to the Center of Disease Control, ALL children ages 6-17 should be getting at minimum 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day to remain healthy. However, only a staggering 24% of children between these ages are receiving the suggested amount required for healthy living. We can blame multiple parties for this tragic number: addictive social media platforms, video games, shortened recess times due to testing pressures, budget cuts, etc…But at the end of the day blaming doesn’t solve the issue, shoring up access to movement opportunities for our children does. Movement Exchange provides free dance classes to under-resourced youth in homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, Boys and Girls clubs, Salvation Army, local public schools, and works with students with disabilities all around the United States. Movement Exchange provides free and sustainable weekly dance classes in hip hop, breakdancing, ballet, and contemporary in orphanages, youth centers, and schools in underserved areas of Panama City in Panama. In 2022 alone, Move-Ex provided over 461 hours of free movement education to the students in our partner programs in the US and Panama. To learn more about us or to participate in our “Move To Change” mission visit www.movmentexchanges.org


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