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10 Rising Hearts: Student turns her passion for dance into a ministry

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Sara Williams taught dance classes three days a week

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Sara Williams discovered her love for dance in middle school. Now she is 17 years old. 

"We signed me up for one ballet dance and then eventually that turned into taking a tap class and taking a jazz class and it turned me into dancing seven days and week and joining companies and auditioning," she said. 

Years ago, she shared her goal with her parents, Brandy and Scott Williams. 

"Open a studio for at risk kids who wouldn't be able to do that. We thought, ah, big dreams, don't know where it is going to go. But in just a few years Cedarbrook opened up and started that," Scott Williams said. 

Credit: WBIR
Cedarbrook Outreach is a mission of West Park Baptist Church

Cedarbrook Outreach partners with West Park Baptist Church, where Scott is an Elder. Many volunteers make multiple programs possible. 

"Yes, I teach three days a week, multiple classes, all different styles," Sara said. "In the summer I do free classes. It started with Boys and Girls Club that meet at our church where we hold the lessons. I would pick up the boys and girls club kids and just do it for free and teach them and love on them even though they had no idea what they were doing."

Credit: Sara Williams
Sara Williams not only dances herself but she also teaches classes

The dance classes at Cedarbrook Outreach are $10 a month and Sara says scholarships are available. 

"I really love that I can connect with the kids. I take mostly the older kids, the middle schoolers. That was a hard time for me being a dancer in middle school especially starting later like most of them are so I can really relate," she said.  "I love seeing the final results at recital time. I love seeing after all those tears and sore muscles and hard work they finally get that and understand what all that work was for. That's my favorite part just seeing them happy and proud of themselves."

Credit: Sara Williams
The coronavirus pandemic canceled the end-of-year recital for Cedarbrook Outreach

The coronavirus pandemic canceled the upcoming recital.

"You know those kids are crushed," Sara said. "We hopefully will be able to use these dances for something else eventually. And out of everything at least I got to grow closer to the girls and bring them closer to Christ. And that's really the whole reason, not putting on a big show."

No big show. But Sara is still making a big difference in her community.   

Credit: WBIR
Scott and Brandy Williams are proud of their daughter

Her father said, "We're just so proud of her for teaching and not just for teaching  the dance classes but sharing Christ with the kids through devotions and praying with them. We couldn't be more proud."

We want to showcase students who reach beyond their schools and families to help make our community better. To nominate a student, please send an email describing them and their community service to 10Hearts@wbir.com

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