We'd like to thank our Sponsors, without whom our dance school would not be possible. We invite all to support this community-minded school... children's lives are being formed daily and the change begins with you! Thank you!!
Our recent sponsors are: Dancing for the Children, NLC, Andre Rieu, Jan Graat, Caroline van de Velde, Symbulon, Dept of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Michael O'Sullivan, Jill Varndell, The Rolf-Stephan Nausbaum Fundation, Stephen Murphy, Marguerite de Villiers, Claudia Batschari, Brian Africa, 51 Cafe McGregor, Helen Gooderson, RAD Foundation, Langeberg Municipality, Charles Back, KraftiBee Creations and the Ballet Moms of McGregor.
Who are Jan and Caroline and why did they decide to sponsor and support FSBM? Jan: Studied Theology and Philosophy specialising in Medical Ethics and had a job as a Professor at the Medical Faculty of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Later on Jan achieved a Master's in Psychology with post academic specialisation in Psychotherapy. Alongside his job at the University Jan ran a private practice in Psychotherapy. Jan has an inventive and creative spirit: designing, building, planning and a great handy man! Implementation was always a good counterbalance to his professional occupation. He also likes photography and in recent years has enjoyed capturing and editing videos. Jan is a seasoned low budget traveler, both he and Caroline have the same sense of adventure and have traveled independently of any organisation to remote areas of many countries in the world. This sense of adventure made it very easy for them to immigrate to South Africa.
Caroline: Studied Physiotherapy and had a job as a Clinical Perfusionist at the Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. Later she went on to complete two Master's Degrees in Public Health Science and was managing several programes and projects regarding a better healthcare organisation. She was also an advisor to the hospital board of the MUMC. Caroline is an enthusiastic sportswoman: Mountain biking (French Alps, Argus), running (New York Marathon) and so much more. Here in South Africa it was her dream to fly a plane, last year her dream came true and she got her Pilots license. Congratulations Caroline, you really are an amazing sportswoman!
Jan and Caroline are married and retired in 2013, they have permanent residency in McGregor, South Africa.
This is what Jan and Caroline had to say after meeting Mary Corpe Silver, the founder of FSBM. We fell in love with the project and the children of First Step Ballet, but noticed its vulnerability in funding and continuity in the long term. Admiration for the dedication of Mary, the children and their parents for Ballet inspired us to find a way to effectively support them. We took the initiative to see if a Non-Profit Foundation and Trust could work and it did! "Stichting Symbulon" in the Netherlands and the "Symbulon Charitable Trust" in South Africa were established. For more information you can go to their website https://symbulon.co.za
We are so grateful to see so many people supporting Symbulon in various ways. The biggest support is provided by our Maastricht friends André and Marjorie Rieu, they make it possible to support projects like First Step Ballet, McGregor so that Mary can continue her important work. First Step Ballet are delighted to have Jan, Caroline, André and Marjorie Rieu as Sponsors of First Step Ballet, Mcgregor. We are so grateful to have the "Symbulon Charitable Trust" behind us and everyone from "Stichting Symbulon" in the Netherlands. Thank you!
Mike Sullivan is on our doorstep right here in McGregor. Mike moved to South Africa in 2005 with his wife Jan all the way from the United Kingdom. In 2012 they moved to McGregor. We first met them after one of our Showcases, Jan absolutely loved to watch the children perform. They decided there and then to sponsor the children and have been doing so ever since. In fact Mike and Jan were our very first sponsors for FSBM. Sadly we lost Jan a few years ago but her wish was that Mike go on sponsoring us and that's exactly what he does. Thank you Mike for all your support we really do appreciate it!
Claudia, Richard and Jesse live in (Observatory) Cape Town. They have a travel website www.zanziabar-retreats.com organising holidays to Zanzibar. Richard is also a Life Coach and has two other websites, www.therapist-directory.co.za and www.coachdirectory.co.za Jesse is in class 5 at a school in Kenilworth. They lead a very busy work life and love nothing more than to come to McGregor to relax and have some family time. Claudia and Richard have been coming to McGregor for at least fifteen years and have owned a house here for about ten years. They love the village and the people are very dear to them. When they visit they have wonderful quality times together with friends and family. Claudia says that they love First Step Ballet McGregor.
It is such a great initiative and they have watched it grow from strength to strength. Whenever they come to McGregor and there is a Festival or a show on they are delighted to be able to watch. It is always a highlight for them to see the children singing and dancing. Claudia talks of the founder of FSB, Mary Corpe Silver and has seen that she instills pride and courage into the youth of the village, which is so needed. 'Thank you Mary and to all the fine little dancers!'
We thank you Claudia and Richard for your support for the children of FSBM!
Claudia and Richard would be very happy to assist you with the planning of your Safari. Please take a look at their websites: www.exclusive-safaris.com & www.zanzibar-retreats.com
When people ask me how I make a living, I usually say "Crime". I began as a probation officer in 1975 and still make parole decisions on the most serious offenders in the UK. Along the way I became Director General of the Probation Service for England and Wales and was honoured by her HM the Queen in 2004, hence the letters after my name (Commander of the British Empire). I've been involved in the UK over the years in many local voluntary organisations and know at first hand how they can bind communities together. They give children and adults alike opportunities to take pride in themselves and their neighbourhoods. There are a few things in life more rewarding than seeing young people fulfill their abilities and learn to work with others as they develop characters of their own. The discipline and commitment shown by Ms Mary's protegees will stand them in good stead for life's challenges. We are proud of her work and what it says about our lovely village. We know that such projects are often on a knife-edge financially so Jill my wife and I do what we can to help.
Jill Varndell: I spent 25 years as a social worker in the UK, mainly working with troubled families. The most rewarding was work we did with disaffected and disengaged children and young people. I found that when they became passionate about something and had positive adult role models who took an interest in them, they were more able to succeed in all their endeavors. Steve and I came to McGregor twenty one years ago and bought a house after just three days! Back then we spent most of our time in the UK and holidaying in McGregor. Over the years particularly post-retirement I now live mostly in McGregor, while Steve works in the UK most of the time. We met Ms Mary and took an interest in her Ballet project from it's inception. We were bowled over by her passion and style and wanted to support her work. We run an Airbnb at our home Sizofika. Each booking results in a donation from us to First Step Ballet. We also share information about FSBM with our guests to give them a better understanding of the project. By supporting Mary's work we feel we are giving back to the village that has given us some much over the years. We have found the Ballet project so rewarding and love to see the little tots who started with little confidence, gain skills, poise and blossom into amazing young people.
Marguerite and Harry are originally from Cape Town, but after a weekend in McGregor in 2006, they fell in love with the quaint village and bought a weekend cottage in 2008. Since retiring they have moved permanently to McGregor and love the village and its people. Marguerite trained as a teacher at the University of Cape Town and taught in Mitchell's Plain for ten years, before changing careers and becoming a bookkeeper. Having been involved in education and also a keen Ballet dancer herself in her youth, she was very excited to learn of the First Step Ballet project in the village.
The project instills in the children a sense of pride and belonging, they develop self discipline and self confidence. Their inherent talent for dance is nurtured. It is heartwarming to see the enthusiasm and excitement on the faces of the children coming to dance classes. It is also wonderful to see the support from the Ballet parents for Ms Mary and the FSB children. We have seen over the years how successful the project has been and how the children have performed at venues in Cape Town and won awards for their performances. We are very happy to sponsor such a worthy cause.
In Marguerite's spare time she loves to ride her horse Bella and walk her dog Phoebe. We are so thankful to Margy and Harry for supporting First Step Ballet, McGregor.