Dancing The Night Away This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The music was blasting as the energy of the room shook the building. There was constant rhythmical motion as sudden bursts of laughter filled the room. Spirits were high and cheerful as though everyone were having the time of their lives. But, this was no ordinary party, this was truly a "special" party. The people at this party were all retarded or disabled. Three-hundred-fifty people joined me, in a night to remember.

I am 16 years old, and a professional D.J. I usually make $400-$500 a night. Yet, this party was very unusual. I wasn't concerned with the time or the perfection of my dancers' combinations. I instead devoted my attention to the sheer pleasure I received from the enjoyment of others. The dance seemed to end rather quickly. Both my two dancers and I sat in the car afterwards, almost astonished. Every person expressed their appreciation to us, especially the staff who worked there. Within a week, I received a letter from the director of the party. He stated his appreciation for the party, and the great news that a previously mute woman left the party humming, then singing part of a song I had played. A rather large grin crossed my face, only to be followed by a smile when I received over 300 thank-you letters from the disabled members. That holiday gift was of a magnitude I had never received.

I didn't stop there. I have worked out a contract where I do seven volunteer parties each year for Letchworth Village. I then thought about other ways I could donate my surprisingly therapeutic career. I found a nursing home. I asked if I could try a demonstration for the patients. With a rather hesitant decision, the board decided to let me try. As I walked into the cafeteria, I was faced with 200 older people. With the vibrant colors of our costumes, and our optimistic attitudes, we proceeded to change the entire room from bored people into a room filled with joy. The people at the nursing home were surprisingly pleased with our tremendous success.

Since those experiences, I have donated countless hours for the enjoyment of others. But this kind of community of service is different, this is truly "special."


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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