Dance company gives back to Tree of Friends Foundation

Members of D&J's Dynamite Dance Company display the donation they presented to Tree of Friends Foundation at the dance company's Christmas party in Manchester Dec. 18. _- Original Credit: Submitted photo
Members of D&J's Dynamite Dance Company display the donation they presented to Tree of Friends Foundation at the dance company's Christmas party in Manchester Dec. 18. _- Original Credit: Submitted photo (HANDOUT)

Students of D&J's Dynamite Dance Company in Manchester shared the holiday spirit by making a donation of $1,550 to Tree of Friends Foundation at the company's Christmas party Friday, Dec. 18.

Their effort lived out the company's motto of "community before competition," said Amber Reigel, mother of dance company student Cassidy Reigel, 11, of Manchester.


Reigel proposed a friendly competition among the different groups within the company, with all of the collected funds going to Tree of Friends, a Manchester nonprofit that serves Carroll County residents in need. Jessica Etzel, studio director, endorsed the idea.

The foundation works with Manchester businesses and schools, as well as the Manchester fire company, all of which put up special Christmas trees called "giving trees." Each tree has ornaments listing an item or two requested by a Carroll County resident in need. People buy the gifts and return them to the giving tree with their ornaments attached for delivery to the residents.

Each student was encouraged to give $10, Reigel said. Donations to the foundation took the place of the company's usual gift exchange. Reigel said teachers joined the effort and asked that students donate to the cause instead of buying them gifts, as students often do.

The company told its dancers that the group raising the most money would receive a dance party at the studio, Reigel said. The company has 11 dance groups ranging in age from 5 to 18.

Some of the students gave from their piggy banks or their allowance money, she said.

Tree of Friends Foundation's co-founder and president Darcy Hott and treasurer Kristi Yowell attended the party to talk to the students and accept the donation.

Yowell said D&J's donation was phenomenal for Tree of Friends and helped to "fill the holes" where gifts were still needed to fill wishlists on ornaments that had not been chosen from a giving tree. She said they were even able to buy wrapping paper so parents who received gifts for their children could wrap them.

The Christmas party also included a special announcement about which group raised the most — the Company A2 group, ages 5 to 7, which raised $300. Their win earned them a day of dance led by Alex Wun.

Wun, 17, of Manchester, is a teacher with the company, attends Baltimore School for the Arts and is pursuing a career in dance. She donated her time to provide the day of dance for Company A2, held Tuesday, Dec. 29.

D&J's Dynamite Dance Company, part of the North Carroll Recreation Council, is at the North Carroll Dance Studio at 2969 Manchester Road in Manchester, and offers a variety of dance classes for ages 3 and older.

To learn more about the dance company, call 410-374-0622 or visit www.djdynamitedance.com. For more information about Tree of Friends Foundation, call 443-507-0667 or visit www.treeoffriends.org.

Arduino workshop

The North Carroll branch of the Carroll County Public Library invites youth ages 11 to 17 for a new program about using the Arduino open source electronics platform at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 11, at the library, at 2255 Hanover Pike in Hampstead.

Mark McKinney, library associate II, will lead the program. He said the system uses two elements: programming/coding and wiring/circuits. Participants will use both to complete a project.


Dorothy Stoltz, programming and outreach services manager for the county library system, wrote in an email that Arduino was designed "for students without background and knowledge to grasp basic electronics and computer programming."

Registration is required, as project parts are limited.

For more information or to register, call the North Carroll branch at 410-386-4480.

Donna Mortensen covers Hampstead, Manchester, Lineboro and neighboring communities in northern Carroll County. She can be reached at 443-547-6507 or at