Bulldog Backpack Program receives donation from 7th Street Dance Studio

7th Street Dance Studio owner, employees, and kindergarten dancers are pictured along with Bulldog Backpack founders Cheryl Harris and Carol Shimek. 

Front row: Isabella Barber, Adalynn Lind, Jordan Jensen, Lyla Grothe.

2nd row (on knees): Adelaide Vogel, Harper Fritzler, Phoenix Steinman, Willow Hampton, Raya Beck, Riley Bixby.

3rd row (standing): Luka Beck, Shannon Dye, Kendyl, Oestman, Corinne McClary, Brinley Cornish, Harper Sorensen, Charleigh Grobler.

Back row: Angie Davis, Dalton Krug, Chandra Krug, Lori Davis, Jaiden Krug, Cheryl Harris, Carol Shimek, Barbie Beck, Stella Beck.

7th Street Dance Studio donated 100 percent of the proceeds from the 2019 Dance Recital to the Bulldog Backpack Program.

Program founders Cheryl Harris and Carol Shimek accepted a total of $3,000 from dance studio owner Lori Davis, studio employees, and the 7th Street Dance Studio kindergarten class group.

Davis has owned and operated the studio for a year and a half after taking over the business from former owner Kathy Lybarger. One couldn’t help but notice the remodel and changes that Davis has done since purchasing the studio.

Davis stated that every year she and her staff pick a charity in the community that they would like to support. This year they selected the Bulldog Backpack Program, a program that is designed to meet the needs of hungry children and provides food when other resources aren’t available, such as weekends and school vacations.

"We're really excited about it,” Davis said. "The kids have a great time giving back. It empowers my kids, they feel good about themselves being able to do something because most kindergarteners can't give a lot but they can dance and they love to do it so making money on top of it is wonderful!"

Dancers come from all around the area to attend dance classes at 7th Street Studio. Davis and her team teach dancers from Alliance, Hemingford, Scottsbluff, Hay Springs, Hyannis and more.

This year’s 7th Street Dance Recital will be the weekend of May 16th and 17th. This year they are trying something a little different and will have a night show for the big kids and afternoon show for the little ones.

“We’re doing two shows on two different days,” Davis said. “We always welcome new dancers. Call the studio to find out how to get signed up.”

The Bulldog Backpack Program began in Alliance on November 17, 2010 by Harris and her friend Shimek. With the Lord’s help and guidance the two of them set out to respond to a need that Harris saw when working in the schools for 30 years.

At the beginning of the school year, school counselors identify children in need. This year the Bulldog Backpack Program is serving 160 Alliance Public School Students from as young as the Early Learning School to the older students that attend the Alternative School.

When students are identified letters are sent to the parents requesting permission to participate and making sure there are no allergies. As soon as the letters are returned, volunteers meet once a week to pack the bags with 12-14 food items. The food is nutritious, child friendly and easily consumed.

The program is called the “backpack program” due to the fact that the first few years’ backpacks were filled for the students to take home and return the following week. However, counselors asked that they try grocery bags as a cleaner, more convenient way.

Each Friday the bags are delivered to the schools for distribution and each child in the program receives a bag. The program begins the week after Labor Day and continues through the last week of school.

The cost of each “backpack” is $5.50 to $6.50 depending on what is sent. Once a month jars of peanut butter and jelly and a voucher for one gallon of fresh milk is included in the bags. These vouchers can be redeemed at Grocery Kart in Alliance.

Over 40 volunteers call each member of their four teams each week as a reminder. What an amazing and selfless thing these volunteers have done for almost 10 years.

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