A survey from last year by the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance found that homelessness in North Texas had increased by 9% within the course of a year. About 4,140 homeless people live in Dallas and Collin counties, a large portion of which is made up of kids. While many are able to attend school, they are often without access to essential hygiene products.
On Saturday, Aug. 3, the Janie C. Turner Recreation Center in Dallas will host a line dance marathon to help provide students in Dallas schools with essential toiletries and hygiene products.
“This is the kickoff for our Line Dance Marathon,” says the event's coordinator, Shanda Brown. “Normally, we do health fairs, but since line dancing has become so popular, we want to do something different. We want different age groups to be a part of the event.”
From now until the end of the marathon, Brown is asking for donations of various hygiene products, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion and feminine hygiene products.
“These items will be collected and formulated into hygiene kits to be donated to underserved and disadvantaged youth,” Brown says. “We will donate them to local schools, and the principals can identify those who need the hygiene kits.”
Brown’s goal is to collect enough products to create 1,000 kits. As of now, she has received donations from local dentist offices and is hoping that more people feel compelled to donate.
Maintaining good hygiene throughout one’s life is proved to have many benefits, including maintaining one's health, lower health care costs, lower risks of infections, acceptance within professional fields and higher self-esteem.
“Students are often bullied in school due to poor hygiene,” Brown says. “Why not try to bridge that gap? Good hygiene boosts confidence. That’s what we want to cultivate in our youth. We want them to be confident in who they are, and good hygiene is a major factor. We want them to be approachable. We want them to be around their peers without having bad breath and bad body odor. These things can also be a distraction in the classroom.”
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By definition, a line dance is a choreographed sequence of repeated steps performed by a group of people arranged in one or more lines. In recent years, they have become popular among people of all ages via YouTube and other video sharing platforms. Brown will serve as the Line Dance Master at the inaugural Line Dance Marathon.
“We’re expecting a variety of people between the ages of 20 and 55, but all ages are welcome,” Brown says. “We expect to see all sorts of line dances; anything from the Wobble to the Electric Slide.”
While the Line Dance Marathon will be a slight departure from Brown’s traditional fair, she is still seeking vendors to be an active part of the event. Each prospective vendor must donate at least $50 worth of hygiene products.
“Those who attend this event will not only have the opportunity to line dance,” Brown says, “but they will also be able to support local businesses, or promote their own products or services. It’s all for a good cause.”