Before CDI, I always felt a little out of place. I wasn’t the tallest or the fastest kid, at the time this is what most third graders cared about, I was just little chubby Paulo who worried too much about getting 4’s on his report card and winning the handball match. But when I found CDI in the fourth grade my entire life changed, I found my place. I remember taking my first class and thinking how happy I was, how nothing had given me more joy or had helped me forget about all my troubles, from then on I actually looked forward to going to school so that I could dance. As I continued with CDI I moved up in rankings, from SWAT all the way to EXCEL, this gave me confidence like no other. Not many kids got the opportunity to be in elite groups at such a young age, I felt special.
Not only had dance and CDI given me a passion in life, but they were also a catalyst in making new friends. I was given the opportunity to meet kids all around LAUSD who shared the same interest in dance as me. Today, some of my closest friends are those I didn’t go to school with, but that I met through CDI. Plus, being partnered up in duets or trios really propelled the shyer kids to meet new people while also in an incredibly safe and loving environment.