She came to the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County at the age of 7. Kavi Zuniga was quiet and shy and didn’t make friends easily.
What did the Club do for this young girl? It re-established a passion for dance that started when she was only five years old and gave her the confidence to dance and sing in front of others. Kavi had taken ballet lessons for two years when she was younger, but had to quit due to financial limitations.
When she started coming to the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County, she noticed that there were posters regarding Oklahoma City Ballet and that classes were available for kids just like her. Since coming to the club she has renewed her interest in art, singing and dancing, but ballet was not initially part of the picture.
Now Kavi is going into the 8th grade but is auditioning with the 9th grade dance program at the Classen School of Advanced Studies. She was a little nervous but she has overcome those fears and is excelling at an extremely high level.
“The Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County has helped me continue to pursue my passion for dancing and ballet. I have a scholarship with the Oklahoma City Ballet, so I have the chance to dance there as well. It’s been helpful because sometimes it’s hard to master moving to the music. Once I see the ballerinas perform, though, I can see the music through their dancing. I’m very lucky to have this opportunity and it’s the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County that has made it happen.”
While she’s only 12, Kavi already has set her sights high on a goal of becoming a professional ballerina with the New York City Ballet. “My plan is to move to New York City when I’m 15 and attend the American School of Ballet. The New York City Ballet only takes performers from this school. I have to audition but that’s ok - I have a lot of determination, discipline and support from my family. I’m excited about what the future holds.”
Ask anyone who knows Kavi and they will attest to her dedication to make her dreams come true. One of her many mentor’s at the club is Larissa Conn.
“Miss LaRissa really helped me overcome my shyness and encouraged me. She helped me with my stage fright in performing in front of an audience. She’s believed in me from the very beginning and gave me confidence to pursue my dreams. She’s helped me believe that I can be anything I want to be in life if I’m willing to work hard and I’m definitely willing to do that. I’m pursuing a lifelong dream and the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County has made that possible.”
Kavi gained confidence through various performances at the Club, which propelled her on to joining Show Choir at Classen SAS in addition to ballet.
It just goes to show what can happen when a child is placed in the right environment that their dreams, goals and aspirations can be supported and achieved. For Kavi Zuniga it means being a professional ballerina in New York City. And one day, it just might happen - in part due to the support and encouragement Kavi received from the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County.
Written by Tracy Alford