Who Gives.... East Gwillimbury?? Heart Soul And Rythm of our community.
Small business are the heart and soul of a community. This month Who gives…..East Gwillimbury Is about a momma- preneur who has heart soul and rhythm.
Leah Anna Sanguinetti is the true definition of a momma- preneur. She is a Holland Landing resident and mom of 4 Nathan age 12, Lily age 9, Violet age 6 and Ivy age 2.
She started her studio called In Harmony Dance & Wellness 16 years ago after graduating from university. Being a mom is a full-time job owning a small business is more than a full-time job but Leah Anna manages to do both. Owning the studio has enabled her to make her own hours so she can be home with her children during the day. Her kids have always gone to the studio with mom and it became there second home. She has always lived a life of balance by doing what she loves and raising her family. Have you heard the quote from Marc Anthony “If you love what you do you never work a day in your life”? Leah Anna has a passion for teaching children, helping them find their talents and reach their goals. As her family grew so did the studio but she has always stayed true to her mission to provide high quantity dance and wellness classes while encouraging healthy self-esteem. Her program encourages student to continuously strive for inner harmony
Since East Gwillimbury and Newmarket Santa Claus parades were cancelled, and her students had already learned their cheer. In Harmony dance studio set up their own Covid safe parade. Families were asked to decorate their own cars and drive by to support the team and drop of food donations. They ended up bringing two trucks of food to the food bank! In December, instead of hosting a holiday concert at a theater that they did every year. They did a show in the studio, put up theater curtains and lights and allowed one class at a time to perform to a livestreamed audience. Again, we collected food donations for the food Bank. Wow, I think it’s amazing to hear stories of joyful events being canceled but then turning the situation around and helping others all at the same time. What a great life lesson in resilience for her students. With a little creativity working with what they had, turning the events into memories both parents and students will never forget. I believe everyone can do something to give back collecting for the food bank got everyone involved and is needed now more than ever. That’s not all In Harmony is doing to give back, they are offered free dance classes in honor of International Dance Day April 29. For families that have suffered economic difficulties, they have a scholarship program in place to make sure that no dancer has to quit dance because of financial struggles.
Like every small business in Ontario Covid has caused havoc with restrictions and closures. When Covid hit the studio quickly moved to online dance classes. They launched a new online platform for the teams to watch videos, chat, and access lessons with their instructors. All the regular dance classes were now being taught on zoom.
Leah Anna told me that she is thankful to work with other amazing women who are also great mentors and leaders to the young dancers at Harmony. These ladies have stepped up and adapted to new studio covid protocols to keep everyone safe so that we could open our doors after a closure. From sanitizing between classes, to running zoom classes at the same times as in-person classes, wearing PPE etc, they continued to show resilience and commitment to the students. Covid has greatly affected the dance studio. In 2020, after 8 months of training and preparation of dances for competitions and recital, all performances ended up being canceled. The dancers worked so hard to prepare for the stage. Money was spent costumes never worn and entry fees to competitions that didn't happen. It was a huge disappointment to her dancers. In Harmony would have celebrated 15 seasons at our year end recital but that was also canceled. Initially it was great but after 14 months on online it’s just not the same students miss their friends and instructors. The studio has lost over 60% of students and had to make a very difficult decision and downsize as a direct result of Covid restrictions. They currently have a 6000sq feet facility and are thankful that they were able to keep most of the staff employed. Leah Anne said “We hope that the world can return to normal in the near future because the longer this goes on, the greater chance that kids will lose their passion for dance, and all of the other physical and mental benefits of physical activity and art.”
In honour of Mother's day, they have a free mother daughter class coming up I encourage you to check it out and sign up to join. For more information on Facebook page Instagram- in harmony dance. Or their web site. www.inharmonydance.ca
I would like to take a moment to think about your favourite small business in East Gwilimbury.
Think about what that business has done for you and the community in past years. Have they given back to a charity that is in need? Did they employ a neighbour or offer an apprenticeship to a student? Does that business sponsor sports teams? What do you like about that business is it the service or the products that you just love?
For me what comes to mind is my favorite coffee shop all the staff not only know my name and my preferred drink is usually being made as I walk in the door. It’s the personal touches that make this place so special like when they tell my husband when fresh brownies are coming out of the oven because they know all about my sweet tooth. I know this business is having a hard time and I make sure I order often and let them know how much I enjoy their services.
We all know that restaurants, personal services, gyms, and child activates have made the greatest sacrifices because of the Covid situation. Please take the time to support local business and shop local as much as possible.
It is my honour and a privilege to write about giving back in our community. If you have a story you would like to share, write to me at Who.Gives.Eg@gmail.com