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Local teen embarks on mission to help others through dance

By: Ellen Lampe

Credit: Born To Dance website

At just 15 years old, Flynn Kehm is wise beyond her years. The freshman at Rockwood Summit High founded her own organization more than four years ago, embarking on a mission of spreading joy and opportunity for others to do something they love.

The organization is called Born To Dance. It seeks to provide underprivileged and disabled individuals with dance attire, free of charge.

“I started [Born To Dance] in fifth grade. As I got older and started to mature, I realized that there are people in the world that aren’t as fortunate,” Flynn explained.

Flynn’s passion for dance led her to another passion – helping others.

“I wanted to connect the world through dance. There are other people who love to dance but don’t have the opportunity or the money,” Flynn said.

A main pillar of Born To Dance is seeking to give others a means to dance, even in the darkest of times. In light of that, Flynn’s organization hosted a donation drive to benefit youth and families in Puerto Rico who have been devastated by Hurricane Maria.

“I do two donation drives a year. It’s a lot of work, but I love doing it,” Flynn said.

The drive, which took place on Saturday, Jan. 27 at On Pointe Dance, was a great success. Close to $10,000 in donations of new and gently used dance attire and other accessories were collected, and the donations still are coming in, Flynn’s mother, Bonny, said.

Flynn Kehm [second from left] and volunteers collect donations.

“It was a great drive. It was quite something,” Bonny said. “[Flynn’s] first drive was 4 or 5 years ago and started with just one donation. It’s grown from there.”

It has grown, to say the least. The organization has expanded beyond dance, as it recently has begun collecting figure skating donations as well.

The donations from the drive will be sent to a school for performing arts in Puerto Rico in hopes of easing the psychological toll the hurricane has had on families and children. It is Flynn’s hope that the donated items will restore a sense of normalcy and happiness for the youth of Puerto Rico, giving them the opportunity to dance and smile amid hardship.

The January donation event was made possible, in part, by a generous donation made in the name of Natalie Timm. Timm was a talented member of Eureka High’s dance team who truly loved the sport and had a kind heart.

“She got in a car accident and passed away,” Flynn said. “An anonymous person made a donation in her name to carry on her good heart and remember her.”

During the drive, Timm’s parents made a surprise visit to see Flynn and her fellow volunteers. They didn’t come empty-handed, either; they donated some of Timm’s old dance outfits to the drive.

“There wasn’t a dry eye in there,” Bonny said, of the touching moment.

The event also was supported by a Disney Summer of Service grant through Youth Service America.

“I’m humbled to be one of 270 young leaders across the country awarded this grant to organize projects to help make their communities healthier, greener and stronger,” Flynn said.

On Pointe Dance, which donated close to $6,000 in new items to the drive, is accepting donations for Born To Dance year-round.

For more information about the Born To Dance organization, click here.

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