Emily Nussdorfer’s phone has been ringing. The girls from Germantown High School want to come back.
Nussdorfer is founder and executive director of Moving Creations, Inc., a nonprofit that runs Girls On the Move, a project that works with at-risk teenage girls to build self-esteem and leadership skills through the performing arts.
Last year, she started working with girls from Germantown High, but the school closure also shut down Girls on the Move.
She worked with schools administrators and parents to identify “girls on the edge of failing, but with leadership potential, who needed therapeutic support and artistic channels to turn it around,” said Nussdorfer.
Christina Fanizzi, who was neighbors with Nussdorfer, opened Pilates Alchemy in Mt. Airy last November and in the spring, Nussdorfer invited Fanizzi to a Moving Creations benefit to check the program out.
“I was profoundly moved,” said Fanizzi. “I told Emily, ‘I’ve got to do something’ I wanted it to be community based to reach a broader range of people.”
So, on Oct. 5, Fanizzi will host a silent auction and party at her studio from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to help raise money to sponsor students.
Moving Creations became a registered nonprofit in 2005, but the genesis of the idea came while Nussdorfer pursued her master’s degree in dance/movement therapy at MCP-Hahnemann University in 2001, researching the use of dance movement, expressive and creative arts in medical settings and the community.
Moving Creations has worked with a total of 88 at-risk teenage girls.
“At the beginning, they don’t care; are very reactive, quick to fight, with a huge level of distrust, depression, and not wanting to participate,” said Nussdorfer.
The program teaches the girls conflict resolution, sexual health, dance, poetry, teamwork, and performance skills. A diverse group of instructors, like Keisha Duncan, a graduate of the program, work with the girls. Duncan leads sexual health discussions with the girls and currently works with BEBASHI, an organization that works to eradicate HIV/AIDS in the African-American community.
“It’s transformative, empowering, life changing to girls. It’s important to support people helping others to not be crushed by the world,” said Fanizzi.