Page 14 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • October 21, 2009 It all started in 1989 when Meaningful Movements, Inc. opened its doors to children and adults who are differently abled. Michele Campbell, founder and executive director, was a full time teacher, working with children with autism, when she founded the program. Many parents shared concerns that their children had no place to go after school or had any opportunities to play with other children. Michele heard these concerns and took action. Meaningful Movements began with only nine students in a room rented by the hour at a local YMCA. Now, 20 years later, about 100 students come every week to the sunny studio at 6 Godwin Plaza in Midland Park. For twenty years, Meaningful Movements has been a cultural oasis, encouraging artistic self-expression for differently abled people. Providing dance and social classes for people ages three through adults, this organization serves students with a variety of challenges including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and developmental disabilities. The Meaningful Movements Senior Dance Company was born in 1995. In 2004, the Meaningful Movements Junior Dance Company was formed. Both troupes hold true to their mission to entertain, educate, and encourage by performing at rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, universities and residential facilities and at other various community events. The Meaningful Movements Companies celebrate diversity through music and dance. The Senior Company has performed all over the east coast including three performances at Disney World in Orlando Florida. Additionally, Michele has developed a volunteer side-by-side learner program. It started with Saint Luke’s Meaningful Movements turns 20 Wyckoff Religious Education Center in HoHo-Kus over 12 years ago and has expanded to include youngsters from nearby communities. These side-byside learners come to weekly classes to lend an extra set of hands and eyes. With ease, these volunteers learn the joy of diversity and the connection with new friends while becoming the background fabric of the quilt of this program. The culmination of the year is a recital, with students and side-byside learners performing on stage in front of a packed house. Meaningful Movements has always been committed to spreading the concept of being differently abled rather than disabled. Michele looks at a person’s strengths and needs and creates a program allowing the person to be the best that he or she can be. Continuing that mission to give back, the children and adults at Meaningful Movements also serve others in need through a special relationship with the Foster Parents of Bergen County. One year for the holidays, the staff asked the students to bring in gifts for the teens in the in the Foster Parents of Bergen County instead of for them. A “wish list” from teens living in foster homes was posted at the studio and the program has been part of the holidays at Meaningful Movements for 13 years now. Did Michele Campbell know what she was getting into when she left her full time job to pursue a dream? “Definitely not,” said the director. “I just kept telling myself the same thing I told my students: You never know what you can do until you try.” All who have been part of Meaninful Movements’ history have been encouraged to look at life and at people from a new perspective. When we do, we all are surprised at what we see. Call (201) 612-9725 or visit Thomas Madigan honored Kathy Scarpelli presents Thomas J. Madigan with an award for his contributions to the community. The Wyckoff Republican League recently honored Wyckoff resident Thomas J. Madigan with an award for his contributions to the community. Kathy Scarpelli, who served with Madigan on the Ramapo Indian Hills Board of Education for many years, made the presentation. A past president of RIH board, where he served for 12 years, Madigan is also active in the Wyckoff/Midland Park Rotary Club. He is a Paul Harris Fellow and the recipi- ent of the Gift of Life Humanitarian Award for his involvement in the Gift of Life Program, whereby his family serves as host for children from overseas receiving lifesaving open heart surgery. Madigan is also involved in numerous support activities at Saint Elizabeth’s Church. He and his wife Mary have lived in Wyckoff since 1983. They have seven children and three grandchildren, all of whom reside in Wyckoff. Open the door to a world of natural hearing. Visit our office and try Dual for FREE! Call 201-934-7755 today to learn more. © 2008 Oticon, Inc. All rights reserved. Dual: Engineered for performance, designed for style. 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