People @ Goddard
Mary Ellen Dale
In inner-city Cleveland, Mary Ellen Dale has created Dale House, a program that delivers life-changing therapy to teenagers entirely through the performing arts.
I was looking for a program to help me train for working with young people, and Goddard allowed me to choose what I wanted to learn. The program here gave me hands-on experience. You get caught up in it. Then I interned at a family clinic in Cleveland, where I was able to put in practice all I had learned.
I was working with teenagers—but many of my clients didn’t want to be there. I started asking them, “What do you want to do with your life?” And they started telling me. “ I want to be a writer, I want to be a singer, I want to be a dancer.” That’s how Dale House was born.
My whole premise is getting these kids on stage, because that’s where the real therapy comes in. We work all year for the summer community festivals—we dance, sing, read poetry. The children dig within themselves: they find their passion, and we build on that. Kids come to us from all over the city. Once we find the good, we bring it out.
Goddard allows you to use the talents you have, and come out with something you really love—to develop a passion. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure that was going to happen. But after I got started, it was beautiful.