CINCINNATI — High school senior Lauren Gibson was shy before joining the Q-KIDZ Dance Team in the West End.
“I didn’t really talk, and now I talk all the time,” Gibson said. “I have all these leadership skills, and it just helped me be a better woman in general."
Now, in her seventh year with the team, it’s not a lack of confidence that’s holding her back from competing. It’s funding.
Q-KIDZ director and founder Marquicia Jones said the rising cost of maintaining her dance studio is the main reason the team can’t travel to out-of-state competitions.
“We’re a team that’s usually booked and busy,” Jones said. “It’s been kind of rough just trying to maintain the facility here, being able to keep the bills paid.”
Jones said she started Q-KIDZ to serve the West End community specifically.
“I started 38 years ago for boys and girls to actually give the kids in the inner city and public housing something positive to do to keep them out of the hustle and bustle of the community,” Jones said.
Over 100 girls attend classes at Q-KIDZ. Gibson said she's traveled to New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and other cities to participate in competitions.
Not being able to compete in 2020 would be like a “basketball team that has been practicing, but not gotten to play,” said Q-KIDZ fundraising chair Rebecca Moyer.
That’s why she said she’s hoping the community will step up to support the team.
Organizers from the Q-KIDZ board and other volunteers will kick off a fundraising effort Monday evening at Fueled Collective in Rookwood. Moyer said their goal is to find a way to get the kids back on the floor and on the road.
“We want to put them back on the road to get their spirits up and get them the exposure that they need to colleges and scholarships and dance programs that are going to take them on in the future,” she said.