JOY Foundation Event Nov. 2nd, 6PM at Casa Del Mar, Santa Monica
By Elia Esparza
The Jewels of Youth (JOY) Foundation is hosting their annual event on November 2nd, 6PM at the Casa del Mar seaside hotel and restaurant located at 1910 Ocean Way in Santa Monica, CA. It is one of those events that tugs at the heartstrings and your pocketbooks because it is worthy of our support. The services and classes they provide make all the difference in children’s lives who otherwise would not be able to receive.
When I first met Maria Lupe Ibarra-Smith was way back in the mid-1990’s when she was making the Hollywood rounds as a professional dancer. There were auditions, gigs, huge possibilities, disappointments and more gigs.
Then she got married and was booked for life in her most important job ever: As a mother of twin sons who were both diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Ibarra-Smith dove into a world of therapeutic services and seek out special needs programs, anything that would improve the quality of life for her children. In time she found she was not alone in her struggle and that there were many other parents and children going through the same thing. Out of sheer love and devotion to help all children in need, she founded the JOY Foundation.
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based nonprofit helps children with all types of disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Down and other syndromes, Global Developmental Delays, Dyslexia Brian Injury, Allergies and Autism. JOY Foundation provides essential services for all children, most of whom live in the local community.
I learned something new from the article in Hispanic Business that Ibarra-Smith a native of Jalisco, México, Ibarra-Smith immigrated to the United States with her family at age 7. “My life’s journey thus far has been an amazing one. I was raised in a family woven together with love, strength and commitment,” Ibarra-Smith recalls. “Working in the fields along side my family and with other families helped to give me a unique perspective on life.”
Ibarra states that dance has always been an important part of her life.
She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater and dance at the California State University of Sacramento. She has also studied with The Martha Graham School of Dance, Alvin Alley Dance Company, Sacramento Black Art of Dance Company and Jazzy Dance Company. Ibarra-Smith has choreographed many dance pieces in addition to being a performer, touring throughout the U.S. as a dancer.
For the past 20 years, Ibarra-Smith has dedicated herself to the education of children in dance and fitness. Her love for the art of dance, motivated her to start her own business, a dance studio that is popular with celebrities and has afforded her the opportunity to teach hundreds of students of all ages. Her unique dance program enhances each child’s physical and creative development.
Ibarra-Smith’s desires and visions are to cultivate a lifelong appreciation of dance and enhance the creative experience of instructional dance for each student.
For more information, visit http://jewelsofyouth.org. Tickets are $100 per person and are in demand, so make sure you purchase now by calling Lupe Ibarra-Smith directly at (310) 739-1466.