Arts and Entertainment

Dance for a Chance combats teen homelessness

Sasha Mullen of Poulsbo at the Dance for a Chance performance in 2012 - Kim Scott-Olsen / Courtesy
Sasha Mullen of Poulsbo at the Dance for a Chance performance in 2012
— image credit: Kim Scott-Olsen / Courtesy

POULSBO — Teens helping teens is the thought behind the upcoming Coffee Oasis benefit — the third annual National Dance Week Kitsap event.

Dance for a Chance is a benefit show with performances by several area dance studios, to raise awareness of and funds for Coffee Oasis. The show is on May 19 at 2:30 p.m. in the North Kitsap Auditorium, 1881 NE Hostmark St., Poulsbo. Donations will be accepted at the door, with all proceeds benefitting Coffee Oasis, which runs youth centers for at-risk and homeless teens and provides job training and school mentoring.

Coffee Oasis recently opened a coffee shop and youth center in Poulsbo, at 8th Avenue and Iverson. The nonprofit has two other centers in Bremerton and Port Orchard, and a youth shelter — the first of its kind in the area — in Bremerton.

From the youngest dance at age 4 to adults, the student dancers will perform jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, bellydancing, breakdance/hip-hop and ballroom styles. Miss Poulsbo McKenzie Moody will also perform, and will present the donation check at the end of the show.

Dance instructor and organizer Amber Haugen said National Dance Week is known throughout the "dance world," and is a way to raise awareness or funds for a cause; it is up to local communities to choose how they celebrate the week.

"We wanted to use our talents to go toward others," she said. "It's about bringing the community together for a good cause.

While dancers from different studios usually see each other at competitions, Dance for a Chance is "a relaxing time to dance from your heart," Haugen added.

Haugen has been a part of the organizing team for the past three years, with Michelle McMillen, owner of Dance Within, and Myriam Mullen, whose daughter dances at Galletta School of Dance.

Mullen's daughter, Sasha, 14, said it's fun to help others by performing in the annual fundraiser. She said she's been to a Coffee Oasis, and has seen people her age that don't always have a place to sleep at night.

"It's sad, but I want to help them," Sasha said.

Haugen said seeing homeless youth "hits home" for her. She and her son will often seen homeless people on the streets in Seattle, and will sometimes give them food.

"Not a lot of people realize teens [can be] homeless," Haugen said.

For more information, call (360) 340-6902, email, or find National Dance Week Kitsap on Facebook.


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