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Meet Pearl and her awesome mom, Natalia.


They love ballet.

It just so happens that the New York City Ballet has an outreach program for kids.

The kids get to interact with real ballet dancers, and the program helps them build confidence in their dance skills.

But there was a complication. Pearl has cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture, and balance. It can also affect fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and oral motor functioning.

Pearl's mom was worried about what that would mean for her daughter in the class.

So she wrote the NYC Ballet a letter, requesting a private session.

"It would mean so much [to Pearl] to take part in a NYC Ballet workshop, so they too could become ballerinas."

"The worst thing they'll do is say they're not interested," she thought.

The NYC Ballet's response was a little better than she had imagined.

Not only did they set up four workshops for Pearl, they invited more children struggling with cerebral palsy to participate as well.

Then the NYC Ballet decided to write a letter too, hoping to get medical expertise on how to help the kids dance.

They sent an email to an expert in cerebral palsy, Dr. Joseph Dutkowsky at the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center at Columbia University.

"Would you be willing to come and help us set up some workshops for children with disabilities?" they asked.

His response was also better than they imagined.

At first, the professional dancers were nervous about how to behave around the kids.

A lot of kids with cerebral palsy struggle to move without braces, crutches, or other equipment. So the dancers asked Dr. Dutkowsky what to do with it during the lesson.

His answer was right to the point:

The decision to not use the braces made a huge difference to the kids and their families.

Juliet was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 2. She's slightly wobbly when she walks. It was not lost on her mother, Joanne, just how big of a deal it was for Juliet to be free of her braces.

For Juliet, it was a truly liberating experience.


For the professional dancers, it was an eye-opening experience.


19 kids got to participate in the program.

All because one mom wrote a letter.

It turned out to be a wonderful experience for all.

So wonderful, in fact, that the New York City Ballet will be continuing the program for the foreseeable future.

Awesome indeed.

You can watch their full story here.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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