SF State News {University Communications}

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Rose honored with Jefferson Award

April 14, 2008 -- SF State Professor of Dance Albirda Rose has received a Jefferson Award for Public Service for her work with The Village Dancers Children's Dance Co., an SF State program she founded in 2000 to teach free dance classes to disadvantaged children in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley and Bayview-Hunter's Point neighborhoods.

The program teaches work ethic, self-esteem and communication skills to children through dance. Students from SF State teach the children in the fall semester when taking Rose's creative dance class. Others volunteer year-round to teach classes at various locations in the city, using Rose's "d-words" as guides: dedication, devotion and detachment from negative influences. Initially the program taught children in more affluent neighborhoods, but Rose realized she needed to make more of an impact in the community. 

"Sometimes I think, 'I'm not doing anything special,' but I think when you get a gift from God, you have to give it back," Rose said. "There are so many kids who need so much, so this is a program that supports the children and the parents."

A photo of Professor of Dance Albirda Rose instructing a student in the dance studio.

Professor of Dance Albirda Rose    Photo Credit: Francis da Silva

Since beginning the program eight years ago, the number of children has jumped to more than 100 participants. But it's not just all dance. Rose requires children in the classes to maintain a minimum grade point average to participate and works to get parents involved in their children's interests. On Saturdays, 15 students come to the SF State campus to attend a class taught by Rose and SF State students. Rose said the program is also an excellent learning opportunity for the student teachers. Many have done additional volunteer work in the areas where they teach dance classes since working with The Village Dancers.   

"The students gain a lot and learn about the politics of a community and economics of a community in a way they wouldn't have normally been exposed to," Rose said. "And they're learning how dance can transfer into other areas of learning. They take a skill level of being able to handle diversity that they would have never attained on their own."

Rose, who has taught at SF State since 1972, will also receive a Dr. Justin S. Cummins Memorial Scholarship Award in June. Last fall she received the Unsung Hero Award, presented annually in San Francisco to honor African Americans for outstanding community service.

The Jefferson Awstyle="align:left;"nted by the American Institute for Public Service and is awarded nationally and locally. Local award recipients are ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or reward. For more information visit the Jefferson Awards for Public Service web site or Jefferson Awards on CBS5.

-- Michael Bruntz


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