Seton in the News, June 15, 2016: Children of the Penal System Learn Hope on the Dance Floor


Despite the smiling invitations from the teacher to join in, one little girl in the corner of the bright, aqua-painted studio refused to dance. Instead, she hid behind her mentor, occasionally peeking out at the others as they played. A cool autumn breeze blew in through the open studio door. It was the first day of classes at Dance Camp, created by activist Sheena Jeffers, in association with the Mentoring Children of Prisoners program at Seton Youth Shelters in Virginia Beach.

As the class wore on, the girl inched her way toward Jeffers. Eventually, she was standing so close that her little hand was resting lightly on top of Jeffers’ at the ballet barre. By the end of class, she was using French ballet terms and dancing with abandon. “I haven’t seen a smile that big on that little face in a long time,” said the girl’s shelter mentor.

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