Kids with Cerebral Palsy get exercise and therapy thanks to a generous and loving teacher
By Mike Bush
Brentwood (KSDK)- It's after 6pm at the Brentwood Community Center and pupils and parents are arriving with a spring in their step.
"Oh, it's a highlight of his week, "says one parent.
This is Kim Gibson's dance class and it's been taking place on Monday nights for almost 13 years.
"I love to change lives, I love to make people happy, "says the ever smiling Gibson.
Almost every student here has been coming for months and almost every student here has cerebral palsy.
"One of my biggest concerns about the diagnosis was I hope he can get all those activities of childhood, "says Shelly Reynolds, the mom of 6 year old Carter.
The idea for the class actually began in the Cerebral Palsy Center at St. Louis Children's hospital. The clinic director doesn't believe in the word can't.
"My mom was really tough and she wasn't going to let me grow up and be dependent on other people, "explains Dr. Jan Brunstrom.
Parents come from all over the world to have their children treated by Brunstrom. They say she understands
what a child with CP is up against and that may be because she has cerebral palsy.
Kim Gibson's daughter Gracie was Dr. Brunstrom's patient and one day the doctor asked Kim about her goals for Gracie.
"And I said well, I've always danced and I really want Gracie to be able to dance, "recalls Gibson.
And a short time later, Gracie was busting a move.
Cerebral Palsy is a disorder that affects a person's ability to move their limbs, maintain posture and in some cases communicate but it doesn't seem to be a problem in this class.
"I think in dance class they're kind of free to be whoever they want to be and dance the way they want to dance, "explains Gibson.
Every week with help of volunteers from Children's hospital and students at Washington University, the kids learn everything from the tango to the do-si-do.
"I did the Mexican hat dance, "says 6 year Sophia Piotrowski. Who then showed us her moves!
But most importantly, these kids just get to be kids.
"Do you have friends here?, "we asked 6 year old Carter Reynolds. "Yes, "he exclaimed.
Kim Gibson used to dream of dancing on Broadway. There are no spotlights at the community center but all the parents who bring their kids here want to give her a standing ovation.
"She is so generous with her time, her heart and her knowledge , "says Reynolds.
The little dance class making a big difference for kids with CP. For 13 years and counting, they've never been out of step.