Nation and World

A vision for change


by Jan Gillis ('07)

 
image: /_images/stories/mcavoy-teaching-884-1200-655x393.jpg

SUMMARY: Caitlin McAvoy ('15), the beneficiary of a Hillcrest Scholarship for Service and Leadership, traveled to Deborah House in Sibiu, Romania, to research and implement a dance therapy-inspired program for young female survivors of domestic violence. She hoped to help them heal through the universal medium of dance.


Caitlin McAvoy ('15) empowers young women through dance



Caitlin McAvoy (’15), the beneficiary of a Hillcrest Scholarship for Service and Leadership, traveled to Deborah House in Sibiu, Romania, to research and implement a dance therapy-inspired program for young female survivors of domestic violence. She hoped to help them heal through the universal medium of dance.

“If I had not had the education I received at JMU, I would not have had this opportunity or been at all prepared for it,” McAvoy says. “That is due especially to the Dance in Community class taught by Professor Kate Trammell. During that class, students learn how to use creative movement and dance activities with various populations such as day care classes, individuals with special needs and senior citizens. … I realized there’s an avenue for my art form to help people in a direct way,” she says.

'I realized there’s an avenue for my art form to help people in a direct way.'

The challenge was daunting for the honors student and musical theatre major. Within a few days, McAvoy needed to develop a rapport with the girls and prepare them for a public dance performance while at the same time navigating a significant language barrier.

She succeeded, and in the process was transformed herself. McAvoy found a confidence and empowerment of her own. “In my future, I see myself opening a dance studio based on positive body image and female empowerment, as well as continuing service trips of this nature,” she says. No doubt, she will continue to share her talents, taking dance to a level where lives are changed.

Read more about McAvoy’s experience in Romania.

Published: Thursday, October 22, 2015

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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