“Believe in your dreams” reads the necklace that hangs around the neck of Riley Weinstein.
She is an 18-year-old dance student, dance teacher, and a voice and inspiration for kids, teens, and adults who suffer from discrimination because of their special needs.
Weinstein has special needs herself. At 2, she suffered from cavernous angioma, or a tumor in her brain. This led to two strokes that she suffered from in later years. Weinstein was left paralyzed on her left side of her body and her face. She was able to regain strength through much physical therapy and emotional support from family.
Today though, Weinstein stands healthy, and ready to take on the world.
Weinstein’s 3rd annual Getting The Word Out Benefit Concert will take place next weekend and will feature many talents that will include singers, actors, models and dance routines by the dance class she teaches at the Santa Clarita School of Performing Arts. Special guest, Zina Bethune, will be there as a speaker at the event.
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Since the age of five, Riley has found passion and refuge in her dancing but because she has special needs, she often found it hard to find instructors who were willing to instruct her. Now that Weinstein has found a dance instructor at New World Dance Studio who she considers a perfect fit, she hopes to help others that have run into the same problem she did. Her dance class, she calls “Together We Stand,” is a class that mixes kids who have special needs with kids who do not.
“You have to feel welcome, and you have to feel like you can do what everybody else can,” said Weinstein. “I believe that separation should never be an option. We are all people, there is no reason why we should be separated.”
Weinstein also gives tons of credit to the others that have inspired her the most in her life including choreographer Mia Michaels, Canyon High School teacher, Lisa Lamedman, and most importantly her grandmother.
The Getting The Word Out Benefit Concert will take place at the Canyon Theatre Guild on May 7 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or reserved by calling (661) 222-7910. Riley will also be offering specially designed Getting the Word Out T-Shirt's for $25 at the benefit concert.
All proceeds from the concert go towards scholarships for the students of her Together We Stand dance class.
Weinstein has a clear vision for her benefit concert. “I want to help people just like me,” said Weinstein.