“Her message has reached far and wide,” says Minnick-Bull, who taught Gracie when she was just beginning to dance at age 6. “It's about triumphing over challenges.” She notes:
There are no Paralympics for dancers.
“Gracie is breaking barriers.”
In the Summer of 2013, Ali Terrones, DDF's Secretary and a dance instructor at South Coast Conservatory put her major in child development at Cal State Fullerton to work. Mrs. Terrones and Gracie put their heads together to create a weekly dance class for special-needs kids called "The Rising Stars", the class is made up of many dancers whom Gracie recruited from her physical therapy center and is hosted at South Coast Conservatory.
In 2014, DDF adopted "The Rising Stars" into its Community Outreach in order to bring the benefits of this special program to our friends, neighbors and special needs schools in our community. Mrs. Terrones took "The Rising Stars" Program to Crown Valley Elementary where it was received with high praises.
Read Gracie's article in the Orange County Times:
Gracie's class at SCC that she mentors has been very successful. This year we are hoping to expand the Rising Stars Program and mentorship program to schools and conservatory's across Orange County and neighboring cities. This is what the Rising Stars Program is all about:
Gracie's unbelievable journey, her inspiration and passion for dance and her incredible story has touched the lives of many. She has been honored and recognized this year in the We.Day televised event that will be shown August 28th, 2016 on NBC and she just received an invitation to the White House.