Enriching the lives of locals through song and dance - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

Photos: Supplied.


Here’s to Life (H2L) has so many beautiful stories within its walls, but one of the loveliest is the one about the mother/daughter duo Ellen and Nicole Bennett.

Ellen joined Here’s to Life’s jazz dancing classes nine years ago to get some exercise that wasn’t the usual run-of-the-mill cardio gym workout, and as they say, the rest is history! Ellen was enraptured by the camaraderie she found at H2L.

“Shortly after starting at Here’s to Life, I lost my wonderful husband, and the love, support and kindness I received from my H2L friends really helped to carry me through this sad time and still does,” explained Ellen. “It certainly put a smile back on my face.”

After only a few months, Ellen brought along her daughter Nicole to join the fun. Nicole started out dancing in the jazz class with her mum, but being the determined young lady she is, she quickly decided that she would also like to learn to tap dance and sing! Between the two, they sing, tap and jazz dance, do drumming, and the occasional bone strengthening class….phew!

Nicole rarely misses her early morning tap lesson on a Monday, and with Miss Sue’s and Miss Renee’s patience and compassion, Nicole has mastered some pretty tricky steps and rhythms. She chirps away like a songbird in Mr Warryn’s singing classes and takes on all the challenging balance work in Miss Ange’s Buff Bones classes.

What we haven’t mentioned yet, which makes this story even more special, is that the beautiful Nicole has Down syndrome. Her love of the world, life and the girls and guys she sings and dances with is totally infectious.

Every member of H2L knows and adores the cheeky Nic – she is the personification of joy and brings it to every session. Not only does Nicole participate in the programs, but just like her mum, she volunteers her time (about six hours a week) to work at Here’s to Life. Ellen and Nicole are tireless and give hours and hours of their time and energy to H2L to ensure it continues well into the future.

As well as volunteering around the hall, they sing, dance and drum their way through the annual Here’s to Life concert, participate in community performances throughout the Redlands, and Ellen offers much-appreciated financial sponsorship through the family business, Bennett’s Carpets.

Here’s to Life is a better place for having these wonderful souls around, and Ellen says, “I could not imagine our lives without H2L – what more can I say?”

If you or a family member or friend could benefit from the fantastic programs Here’s to Life offers, call Sue at 0407 154 993 or check out the website www.herestolife.org.au for more information.

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