Daily Point of Light # 2520 Oct 2, 2003

Nibia Maria Pastrana Santiago, 15, a member of the Caribe Girl Scout Council in San Juan and a junior at Colegio Bautista de Caguas in Caguas, led the refurbishment of a local community center, and then organized a dance workshop there for disadvantaged girls. Motivated by a desire to volunteer in her community, Nibia decided to share her time and talents with young girls who “really needed it.” “I really wanted to interact with these girls because in this community there exists a high incidence of drugs and teen pregnancy,” Nibia said. After obtaining permission for her project, Nibia organized volunteers to clean and remodel the community center before beginning her weekend dance classes, which she calls “Danza Libre.” In addition to teaching 18 girls ballet, jazz, salsa, flamenco and ballroom dancing, Nibia also has taught them to trust and feel better about themselves. As the program grew, Nibia recruited other volunteers to teach art, nutrition and modeling. After Nibia’s students presented a talent show, they were invited to dance in other community events. “I would tell others that my experience was unforgettable,” Nibia said. “Every instant is an opportunity to change someone’s life with love.”