Volunteering Plays a Critical Role During the Startup of 5th Element Center for Dance
Aurora – 5th Element Center for Dance is a nonprofit dance studio that provides dance and
academic resources, and will provide social emotional resources in the near future, to youth in
Aurora with no cost barrier. 5th Element is named after the fifth element of hip hop, which is
Knowledge, and centers hip hop styles and pedagogy as a culturally responsive approach to
The organization strives to foster personal & artistic development for youth to grow into
compassionate, knowledgeable, and expressive artists who are connected to themselves & their
communities. Founding Executive Director, Janei Maynard, is working in her hometown
alongside the Board of Directors and several volunteers to create a space where everyone feels
safe & empowered to express themselves and build connections.
Janei created 5th Element Center for Dance to fill a void that she saw in her community,
surrounded by some of the most talented dancers she’s ever known yet knowing that none of
them would have had a fighting chance in the field of dance as kids and teens because of the
systemic race and class barriers. 5th Element Center for Dance is fighting against these
barriers, furthering race and class equity in the dance community, and creating space for
low-income students and Black & Brown students in the field of dance.
Currently in the process of startup, 5th Element Center for Dance’s priority during Financial Year
0 is to raise funds for operation during Financial Year 1, while also engaging the community in
dance & academic opportunities on a small scale. The organization is currently seeking
volunteer grant writers to help achieve this goal. These volunteers research funding
opportunities from organizations whose grants align with 5th Element’s mission & vision and
write compelling proposals to those organizations. It’s a great opportunity for people who love
fundraising, conducting research, or creating narratives.
5th Element is also seeking volunteer dance instructors and volunteer content creators for its
social media and website, in a smaller capacity. These volunteers are critical to engaging the
organization’s community, and they embody the organization’s core value of expression.
All of the organization’s volunteers have the opportunity to participate in a mentorship program
this year with the 5th Element Board of Directors. Those who chose to participate receive
mentorship from one of the seven Board members in community care, interpersonal skills, and
their area of volunteer work.
5th Element Center for Dance is a nonprofit dance organization dedicated to fostering youth
personal & artistic development through the hip hop arts. 5th Element Center for Dance is
currently 100% volunteer-based and recognizes volunteers as a critical part of our organization
without whom we could not work toward this mission during our startup year.