Changing Lives Through Mentoring – Mia’s Story

Mia Cooper, Manager of Early Care & Education for Metro United Way, has been making a positive difference in the lives of children in our community for over 10 years by following her passion for dance. Now she volunteers every other week to teach liturgical dance, an expression of worship, to youth ages 7-17 at her church.

From her experience at work with Metro United Way’s Excellence Academy early learning centers, Mia understands that what happens outside the classroom is just as important as what happens inside it for a child’s success in school, starting at an early age and continuing onto high school graduation. She not only teaches dance to her students, but she also instills rules and guidelines that will help them in the future – like respecting themselves and others.

“I volunteer and teach because dance is what I love to do,” said Mia, “and because I know that it means much more in the long run to the kids than just the dance itself.” She added, “engaging and building a trusting relationship with each of the individuals in my class – and having them thank me years later for the experience – is very rewarding, and I know my time with them made a difference.”

Studies show that an out-of-school time (OST) program, such as Mia’s dance lessons, contribute to key performance indicators for on-time graduation including attendance, engagement in learning, test scores and grades. Learn more about OST and the importance of on-time high school graduation HERE.

This is why Mia continues to share her time and talent with children, both at work and in our community. And this is what it means to Live United!

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