Three Rivers Champion: Barbara Johnson

Volunteer dance mentor Barbara Johnson uses her time to share the gift of dance.



When a fellow ballroom dancer told Barbara Johnson that she was starting a dance program for special needs students, Johnson was immediately on board.

“I told her ‘when and if you need volunteers, I’d love to offer up,’” she says.

That was six years ago, and Johnson has been a volunteer with “Yes, You Can Dance!” ever since.

“Yes, You Can Dance!” is a program whose mission is to enhance the physical and emotional well being of individuals with intellectual, developmental and/or physical disabilities through dance. As a volunteer dance mentor, Johnson, the owner and graphic designer for More Than Words Fine Papers, assists the students with learning the basics of several different dances.

“[The program] is designed to help increase mobility, flexibility and social interaction and to help increase their cognitive abilities,” she says. “As a dance mentor, we guide them through the steps the instructor demonstrates.”

The program is about more than mastering dance steps; Johnson also builds rapport with the students, getting to know them and their challenges to help them work around them.

The mother of a daughter who has Asperger Syndrome, Johnson knows how valuable understanding the circumstances is to understanding the students. She has volunteered all her life with different groups and tries to serve when and where she is needed.

“If we consider ourselves to be members of society, then we have to participate fully. That means taking care of one another, and people can do that in different ways,” she says. “I don’t have money to give, but I do have my time and abilities.

“You may not think you have abilities or talents, but what you know can and will help others.”

If you know someone who should be recognized for their volunteerism, please nominate them at pittsburghmagazine.com/Three-Rivers-Champions
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

No one would blame the veteran WTAE anchor if she took time off while undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment. Instead, she chose to use humor and grace to educate and inspire others, all while in the public eye.
Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

For many, medical marijuana is a panacea capable of alleviating a wide range of symptoms. As Pennsylvania begins allowing the drug’s medical use, patients are relieved — and business is booming.
Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

More than 20 years into its run, Casbah remains one of Pittsburgh’s most relevant restaurants.
First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

Believe it or not, yogis have been practicing with goats in the Unites States for more than a year.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Yinzers Eating Chicken Wings Are Going to Be on TV

Yinzers Eating Chicken Wings Are Going to Be on TV

Mt. Washington’s Bigham Tavern is the latest ‘Burgh eatery to host a film crew.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

The French-inspired bakery will feature croissants, cookies, bread and more.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

Comments


Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

The Irwin business offers the chance to smash inanimate objections for a little "therapeutic demolition."

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Much as they’d like to, the Steelers won’t be able to exorcise the ghosts of AFC Championship Games Past, even with a win on Sunday.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

A review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," the latest entry in the massive franchise.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

A local wedding photographer has created a business to connect same-sex couples with LGBTQ-friendly vendors.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

The new season of the home improvement show featuring Pittsburgh siblings Leanne and Steve Ford debuts on HGTV in January.

Comments

Edit Module

Edit Module