We had the good fortune of connecting with Elliana Kim and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Elliana, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
In seventh grade, I was a part of the leadership team at my school. I was encouraged to find a place to volunteer. I found a local non-profit organization called Reimagine OC, where I volunteered with the Early Start Program. It provides help to children with developmental disabilities. I helped them learn how to eat, speak, walk, and behave. In the summer of 2020, I was unable to volunteer there because of COVID-19. I knew the kids in the program were stuck at home with almost nothing to do, so I wanted to create something for them. I had done some online classes with my Dance Production and saw a few Instagram ads about Zoom dance classes. I got the idea to create free Zoom dance classes for children with developmental disabilities, especially since most classes do not cater to this community. Eventually, I started the classes for the kids in the program.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My non-profit organization provides free Zoom dance classes to people with developmental disabilities. The teachers and I teach them 30-second to 1-minute dances every week. We are unique from others because we offer dance classes to a community that is underrepresented due to the lack of opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. I am most proud of providing joy to the people in the class. When I see them smile, it makes my day because I know that they are having a good time.

Business-wise, this process was not easy. Making a website, reaching out to companies for the non-profit, and getting people to come to the classes have not been easy. Throughout this process, I have learned how to get through these challenges and move forward. Making the website was very challenging. In the middle of finishing it, I accidentally deleted the whole thing. I became upset but knew I had to finish it to establish my non-profit and ultimately provide opportunities for this community.

I want the world to know that our organization aims to advocate for and help people with developmental disabilities. I hope people will learn from my story and provide equal opportunities for them.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Orange County, which is very close to Los Angeles. First, I would take them on a two-day trip to Disneyland because it is the happiest place on the earth. We would eat clam chowder, churros, and dole whip while riding my favorite rides like Guardians of the Galaxy, Space Mountain, and The Incredibles. Then, I would take them to Los Angeles, where we would spend the next four days. The first day, I would take them to Malibu to spend the day at the beach, walk around the Getty Museum, and eat a picnic dinner while watching the sunset. The next day, we would take a tour around Hollywood, visiting the heart of Hollywood with the Hollywood sign, star walk, and Universal Studios. The next day, we would spend a day surveying downtown LA. We would eat at a macaron place, visit the Broad Museum, eat Korean BBQ, and end the day while watching a Lakers game. On the second to last day, we would go thrifting at Melrose Trading Post and spend the day walking around Melrose, looking at murals, and eating good food. On the last day, we would drive down to San Diego to spend time at the beautiful beaches in La Jolla and finish the day by eating tacos at El Gordo.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shout out the staff and children at Reimagine OC. Reimagine is the place where I first learned how to communicate with children with developmental disabilities. It is also where I started my first zoom classes. I especially want to thank Angie Medina and Sofia Martinez for helping me with this process. They helped me first start the non-profit by allowing me to teach their students and have been supporting me along the way.

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/alwaysdancingproject/

Instagram: alwaysdancingproject

Twitter: alwaysdancing6

Facebook: alwaysdancingproject

Other: Email: alwaysdancingproject@gmail.com Feel free to email us about any questions.

Image Credits
Eun Chong Kim

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