Thursday, September 11, 2003

Jane Cheng, Uptown Arts

16-year-old helps kids get the chance to dance

By Maggie Downs
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jane Cheng knows what's important to kids: Fun. Art. And dancing.

Jane Cheng, a 16-year-old Walnut Hills High School student, has been helping students get involved with dance and acting programs at Uptown Arts in Over-The-Rhine for three years.
(Brandi Stafford photo)

That's exactly what the North Avondale teen gives to the children at the Uptown Arts Foundation, an Over-the-Rhine center that provides urban youth with free classes in art, music, theater and dance.

Jane, a 16-year-old Walnut Hills High School student, has been helping with dance and acting programs for three years. And she manages to squeeze that in among youth chorus, a number of lessons - from voice to Chinese - extracurricular clubs and the homework she has from four advanced-placement classes. And, oh yeah - she's a budding photographer.

Still, she finds a few hours each week to teach Uptown Art's children everything from ballet to hip-hop movement.

"Volunteering is a priority to me, so if something else comes up, I just don't do it," Jane said. "I enjoy these kids too much."

Mostly, Jane assists with the little tasks. She helps the little ones put on their shoes. She corrects the older children's dance positions. She picks volunteers to go on stage.

But she offers the children so much more. Such as consistency.

"These kids have enough unstable things in their lives. And if I'm not there, they miss me," she said. "They need me."

As an excellent student and an accomplished singer/dancer, Jane also is a role model for the youth.

"I think I'm a fairly decent example, at least I try to be, so some of them look up to me," Jane said. "I'm not too much older, so they can relate."


Cincinnati remembers in solemn prayers, reflective moments
Schedule of local events
Updates on today's memorials across the country
Emotional impact of 9-11 blunts as world changes
PULFER: Still grieving? Blame the media
9-11 aftermath stays with Loveland man
How Greater Cincinnati marked the first anniversary
Profiles of area victims in the 2001 attacks
3-D graphic of plans for the World Trade Center site
Photos of the attacks on the World Trade Center
Photos of the attacks on the Pentagon
Photos of Flight 73
Special multimedia coverage from Gannett News Service

Strong at first, volunteer spirit has waned
Here's how to get involved
Profiles of local volunteers:
16-year-old helps kids get the chance to dance
Dad impresses by going fishing
Arthritis can't keep her from job
Helping others helps heal
Math tutor gets lesson
When disaster hits, he responds
Mentors ease the teen years
Variety is the spice of giving

Two years later, we must not forget
Other voices on the lessons of 9/11

Drug suspect a wholesaler, police say
Morgue photographer's appeal refused
Kroger gets its garage, but not before debate
Developer tells plan for mixed complex
ODOT asks $155M for I-75
City rejects $20M condo project in E. Price Hill
1-dose tumor center opens
Regional Report
West End to get new YMCA

Amos: 2-year steppingstone to college lost in UC shuffle
Howard: Good Things Happening

Kings waits to broach tax hike
Monthly Chamber lunch like honey for candidates
Wastewater requests have some crying foul
Monroe Police Chief Howard sidelined by heart problems
Oxford half-marathon already draws hundreds
Suspect arrested in day-care purse snatching
'New' Harrison celebrates arts
Other riverfest has a lot to offer
Sewer overflows spout in Warren Co.
Officials at odds over cost of renovating court center

Coach helped soccer get a start
Billie Garnett, St. Henry mainstay
Kentucky obituaries

Woman charged in death of alleged abductor
Ohio moments

Independence ex-councilman on probation
Kentucky Briefs
Florence official who stole sued
Boone school board member running for state House seat
Illness strikes N.Ky. schools
Park's reputation undergoing change