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Building Bridges: Fostering Healing & Connections in Our Communities




November 17-20, 2016
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel

35 West Fifth Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Thursday, November 17, 2016—During the Opening Session

Alexis Gomez

Alexis Gomez is much more than just another fresh voice for Country music. And while she was known as the "Mexican, Hillbilly, Hippie" as a semi-finalist on the hit FOX show American Idol (Season 14), she's much more than that, too.

The multi-instramentalist has been singing for as long as she remembers. As a teen she was already getting attention and winning contests in her home state of Ohio. That led to shows opening for artists such as Montgomery Gentry, Cassadee Pope, Clint Black, Old Dominion and others.

"As an artist I hope to be able to create music that people want to sing and listen to," Alexis explains. "I would also love to bring something a little different to Country music, which is where I hope to weave some of my Mexican heritage into my music".

When she's not singing, you'll find Alexis hiking and enjoying the outdoors, participating at her church, or rebuilding and racing cars (really) 

Bio from http://www.alexisgomezmusic.com/about-1/


Thursday, November 19, 2016—During the Saturday Evening Banquet

Princesses Ballet

Gordon Havens, Director

What Is Princesses Ballet?

Princesses Ballet is one of City Gospel Mission’s youth programs that help at-risk girls build character and self-esteem. This after-school program is designed to teach girls the value of teamwork and work ethic through regular practices. The program began in 2005 with 8 girls and has grown to serve over 200 girls.


Whom does the Princesses Ballet program serve?

The program serves girls ages 2 – 18 from 10 sites throughout the greater Cincinnati region. The majority of participants in the program are from lower income homes and several have been from homeless shelters. The instruction is provided free of charge and dancer’s families only pay a modest fee to cover dancewear. Most of the girls could not otherwise afford dance lessons of any kind.


2015 Locations:

1.    Main hub site: Carl Lindner YMCA, West End, 50 participants

2.    Roberts School, Price Hill: 11 participants

3.    Grace Presbyterian Church, Sharonville: 25 participants

4.    First Baptist of Greenhills, Cincinnati: 19 participants

5.    Living Hope Bible Fellowship, Norwood: 13 participants

6.    Mt. Calvary Early Church of God In Christ, Avondale: 12 participants

7.    Herencia Divina, Florence (Spanish/English): 14 participants

8.    Reading-Lockland Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati: 12 participants

9.    Christ Temple Full Gospel Baptist/Impact Academy: 35 participants

10. Winton Place Free Methodist Church: 8 participants

The main hub site offers after-school dance instruction 4 days a week, 1-week dance clinics during Christmas and spring break, and 2-week dance clinics during the summer. These clinics offer dance instruction for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. The Princesses are requested to perform at 20-30 events each year throughout Greater Cincinnati.


What is a typical dance class like?

Most dance classes last one and a half hours: beginning with warm up, strengthening and stretching exercises, prayer, dance instruction, then a lesson that teaches life principles.


Quotes from the dancers and their parents:

"My daughter has changed tremendously. Ballet has given her stability, responsibility, courage and discipline. She takes the initiative and she is a great help with her siblings.”

- Sharmarrion’s Mom  5/18/15


"Princesses Ballet has had a huge positive influence in my daughter's life. . . . She has been taught patience, dedication, teamwork, and hard work!! The progress she has made in this 1 school year is mind blowing.   - Aubree’s Mom 5/19/15


"Since our family has been with the Princesses Ballet team, I have watched my oldest daughter grow out of being bashful and introverted.  With this opportunity to attend ballet and perform, she has become a confident leader to her sibling and peers.”   -Danni and Payton’s Mom 5/19/15

About Gordon Havens:

Gordon Havens, the director and coach of Princesses Ballet started his training as a dancer in 1974 at age 15 under the direction of an American Dance Champion. He began dancing professionally three years later, at the age of 18 and continued to dance and compete nationally for 6 years. Within that time frame he and his partner placed 4th and 5th nationally and were undefeated champions 5 times in this four state region (Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana). undefeated champions in a 4-state region for 5 years in a row. Immediately after that, in 1981, he felt called to be a full-time children’s minister and he continues in that roll today.


Current Needs for Princesses Ballet:

The greatest need currently is to hire paid student instructors to cover the 10 total dance sites. The goal would be to hire dancers who have come through the dance program and who are themselves from poverty. The secondary goal is to give more underprivileged children the opportunity to take ballet classes at little or no cost [they only pay $40 for their dance attire/shoes]. 






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