Isabella is just seven years old, but she has already experienced many more challenges than most adults will ever face. Born with cortical blindness, Isabella has a narrow field of vision. She is legally blind. Isabella also has hypotonia, which is decreased muscle tone. She struggles with balance and coordination, needing to give extra effort for every move. Isabella is also on the Autism spectrum, making it difficult for her to connect with peers and fit in socially. 

Despite all of this, Isabella was a very bold and confident child. Her mom Elizabeth describes Isabella as being an early walker, always climbing on everything, and dancing up and down the grocery store aisles. But in 2019, Isabella retreated. She became quiet and withdrawn after witnessing domestic violence. She no longer had a spring in her step and she stopped dancing completely.

Elizabeth, now a single mother of two children, both of whom have ongoing medical conditions, struggles financially. With no monetary support from the father, and mounting medical and legal bills, Elizabeth can’t afford anything extra for her children. 

When Elizabeth learned about ConfiKids, she applied and was awarded funding for Isabella to dance. At the time, she didn’t fathom the impact. Isabella loved to dance as a toddler, but her mom was worried about her coordination and muscle strength as she got older. 

Yet, Isabella is not just dancing again, she is THRIVING! The challenges did not stop Isabella, and once she put on her dancing shoes, her love of dance returned. Isabella attends Harney Pender Keady (HPK) studio in Walpole and is learning Irish Step Dance. Elizabeth is amazed at Isabella’saccomplishments. Her love for dance and bright smile has returned. She practices nonstop, and even tries to teach her mom how to do the steps too. And the best part, she is back to dancing up and down the grocery store isles. 

With a bright smile from ear to ear, Isabella says “Dancing is fun” and she “feels proud of herself when she learns something new”. Liam Harney, the director at HPK says “any program that helps a child participate in an extra-cirricular activity is a fantastic thing. School work is great, but it is through the extra-cirriculars that children find their passions. For it to be available for more kids is just awesome”. 

Elizabeth and Isabella want to share their story because they know the impact of this class goes far beyond just learning a new dance routine. Mom says “Dancing is something that brings Isabella peace and joy every week. She’s excited about it, and she feels included at HPK, even when she is excluded from so many other things. Isabella went from being uncomfortably shy to being rather bold and confident. She’s had so many obstacles in her young life, but she perseveres and just keeps going. I really hope more people will donate to ConfiKids, so more children can have these great experiences.” 

With support from our community, ConfiKids will be able to help more kids like Isabella. On Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2023, please support our mission and the rising demand to provide children with the gift of extracurricular activities. It is a gift that will last a lifetime!