Teen, 17, dedicates summer vacation to others
July 25, 2012 3:32PM
Velvetena "Velvet" Springer
Remember when you returned to school and the teacher assigned you to write an essay on the topic “What I Did on My Summer Vacation”?
When Velvetena “Velvet” Springer, 17, returns to Bishop Noll Institute to begin her senior year, she will have a lot to say.
I doubt if teachers even assign that type of essay anymore, so I will fill you in on this young lady’s summer schedule.
The best part is that her agenda isn’t solely focused herself. She’s created a “Dancercise” class for girls ages 5 to 18 running from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Franklin Center, 201 N. Griffith Blvd. in Griffith.
“I love to dance! I was 5 when I had my first ballet class and I’ve been a student at Beachfront Dance Co. in the Miller section of Gary, as well as DancExcel,” she said. “It is a great way to express yourself.”
Springer added that dancing also liberates you and lifts your self-esteem, which leads to her second summer project, Pretty Girls Rock.
Springer created PGR as an organization that helps to raise the self-esteem of young women and give them positive values.
“I see a lot of these girls and some of them are so into boys that they forget about themselves. Or girls who are bullied or feel alone and I also read stories of young girls committing suicide because of the pressures in life,” Springer said.
She went to her mother, Rhondalyn Cox, who told her to “pray about it,” and the idea for PGR came to her. PGR will include mentoring programs, fundraisers, informational events, PGR summer and winter bashes and more.
Springer said she, too, has been through some challenging times, especially when her parents filed for a divorce when she was in the sixth grade. The divorce was finalized two years later.
“I was definitely a deviant during that time. My mom even put me out of her house for acting out and getting into trouble,” Springer continued. “I lived with my grandmother for two weeks and I returned home a different person.”
Which leads to her third project … writing a book. “Patience” is based on her life during her parents’ divorce and how she coped.
Springer said she is almost finished with the manuscript — which derives from five full journals. She hopes to have “Patience” out before the end of the year.
To learn more about the Dancercise program and PGR, contact Springer at 616-4555.