Seventeen-year old senior Sierra Weiss at Gann Academy in Waltham is using her love of dance in a very special way.

“I find dance is a way for me to unwind every night…And just not think about school work and stress and everything going on in my life, and just focus on the rhythm,” said Sierra.

After helping special needs kids at her summer camp, Sierra decided to do more.

“She recognized that dance was a powerful experience for her, and then was able to sort of think maybe it can be a powerful experience for other people as well,” said Matt Conti, Sierra’s advisor.

Sierra created Dance-4-Empowerment, a non-profit organization that develops dance programs for people with disabilities.

“Dance is something I love, and I can see how it would be therapeutic and helpful for them. I did some research and I found out dance therapy was actually a thing that existed and worked,” said Sierra.

Little sister Zoe Weiss say she’s so proud of Sierra.

“She’s really passionate about anything she sets her mind to. When she first came up with idea, she was immediately set on it and wanted to accomplish her goal,” said Zoe.

Dance-4-Empowerment has about ten students right now, and hopes to add another ten very soon. Sierra hopes to continue spreading her message of inclusion when it comes to people with disabilities.

“Just treat them as people…They just want to be your friend. They just want to be social like everyone else,” said Sierra.

Sierra leaves for college next year but wants to leave a strong base so Dance-4-Empowerment can continue on.

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