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P.E. class teaches kids how to fly

4:17 PM, Apr 8, 2011   |    comments
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"[The teacher] needed to know how we acted... because if we were wild and crazy, people would be getting hurt every day on those," she said.

Fuentes' class is actually part of a program by Frequent Flyers Productions Aerial Dance Theatre. The program is called Kids Who Fly. And it is currently set up in four schools in the Boulder/Denver area.

"It definitely builds confidence, as they see they can learn it," said instructor and Frequent Flyers Performer Danielle Hendricks.

Hendricks and other instructors travel to the four schools with Kids Who Fly. But Frequent Flyers Productions also hosts other kids either in the production company's Boulder studio or on-site at specialty schools.

"We also have youth at-risk groups who come in from detention centers or who come in from various outreach or adventure-based learning groups to do special workshops," Hendricks said.

A major goal of the program is to build confidence in children, who may start off reluctant to climb or swing on the high, stretchy fabrics.

"You see some of them attack it! And they climb up like little monkeys," said instructor and Frequent Flyers Performer Lynda White. "Others are more apprehensive and they try a little bit and then they want to go sit down."

By the time the program wraps up, though, the professional instructors who carefully supervise the children's every move see a change in the students.

"We had some students at Boulder High School. They didn't think they could do it... after performing, they wrote essays about their experience and they said 'I didn't think I could do it and I did. And now I feel like I can go to college," said Hendricks.

The schools that host the Kids Who Fly program often have to help cover some of the expenses, since Frequent Flyers is a non-profit that relies heavily on donations.

The experience is one for which Madison Fuentes is truly grateful.

"You learn how to trust yourself," she said. "Your trust gets stronger... it grows as you grow."

Instructors like Hendricks and White also participate in public performances several times a year. The Frequent Flyers' next performance, "The Fabulous Freaky Flyers & Their Flying Machines," will take place April 15 to 17 at the Lakewood Cultural Center.

To find out more about supporting Frequent Flyers' Kids Who Fly program or for information on upcoming performances, click: www.frequentflyers.org.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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