Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

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 TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

In "Will Work For Views," the video artist and musician Weird Paul is a little bit Dr. Demento and a little bit Mister Rogers.

Pittsburgh Might Mow Your Lawn for Free

The city is launching a free grass cutting service for the elderly, disabled and veterans.

PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

Paying homage to the restorative power of nature, this deep green shade is one to watch in the coming year. Here’s how to use it on your walls.

Influx of Red, White and Blue Coming to City of Black and Gold

The National Flag Foundation is bringing the Star Spangled Banner’s history and colors to the Koppers Building –– and on some nights, it will be visible for miles.

Toppers That Take the Cake

Over the traditional bride and groom standing on top of your cake? Try some of these different ideas for cake toppers.

Renting in Pittsburgh? You're Getting a Great Deal

The Steel City ranks first in Zillow’s 10 Most Affordable Markets for Renters list.

Iconic Pittsburgh Meteorologist Joe DeNardo Dies at 87

DeNardo was well known in Pittsburgh long before a series of promotional TV spots cemented his place among the city's broadcasting icons.

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk found out last August, in the wake of a six-hour surgery that removed 14 inches of his colon and “a tumor the size of my fist,” the severity of what he was suddenly confronting.

Best of the 'Burgh 2018: Readers' Choice Poll Results

Diners, food trucks, dive bars and more. Here's the most popular stuff in town.

Conor Lamb Doesn't Want to Know How You Voted for President

The new congressman discusses his upset victory –– and his thoughts on the state of the Democratic Party in 2018.

Restaurant Review: The Twisted Frenchman is an Ambitious Endeavor

Andrew Garbarino moved his fine-dining restaurant into a multimillion-dollar new home. Does it live up to its new digs?

Vietnam Vets – The Warriors No One Wanted to Thank

When veterans returned from Vietnam, they didn't often hear the phrase “Thank you for your service.” But now, Pittsburgh veterans think people are learning to separate the war from the warrior.

Web Exclusive: Pittsburgh Vets Recount Their Time in Vietnam

From a medic who fainted when his blood was drawn during his physical to an Army nurse, area Vietnam veterans share stories about their time in country.

Sadie's Tree: A Plea for Kindness in Memory of a Bullied Teen

In an obituary read round the world, the family of Bedford, Pa., teen Sadie Riggs called out those who had bullied her and pleaded for people to be kind to one another. A year after Sadie’s death, lessons remain to be learned from her suicide.

What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

Reflecting on the loss of a person so many of us admired.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Pittsburgh Might Mow Your Lawn for Free

Pittsburgh Might Mow Your Lawn for Free

The city is launching a free grass cutting service for the elderly, disabled and veterans.

Comments

Influx of Red, White and Blue Coming to City of Black and Gold

Influx of Red, White and Blue Coming to City of Black and Gold

The National Flag Foundation is bringing the Star Spangled Banner’s history and colors to the Koppers Building –– and on some nights, it will be visible for miles.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

Reflecting on the loss of a person so many of us admired.

Comments

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Chef You Shan Pei comes to Pittsburgh after cooking in Flushing, N.Y. restaurants for 18 years.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

Looking to show off your Pittsburgh love? Get your favorite city printed on basically anything at these local shops.

Comments

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

When you're craving the real deal, these local spots consistently churn out the very best.

Comments


The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

In "Will Work For Views," the video artist and musician Weird Paul is a little bit Dr. Demento and a little bit Mister Rogers.

Comments

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

The relaunched entertainment complex in Harmarville is casting a wide net, with some success.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk found out last August, in the wake of a six-hour surgery that removed 14 inches of his colon and “a tumor the size of my fist,” the severity of what he was suddenly confronting.

Comments

The Inspiring Power of Shazier’s Hope

The Inspiring Power of Shazier’s Hope

Ryan Shazier appeared at the Steelers’ South Side facility today to confirm that he has no intention of leaving the game behind.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The documentary about Fred Rogers' work and philosophy inspires even more wonder about the television legend who called Pittsburgh home.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Ocean's 8

The 400-Word Review: Ocean's 8

The spinoff to the early-2000s heist series is nothing if not mediocre.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Toppers That Take the Cake

Toppers That Take the Cake

Over the traditional bride and groom standing on top of your cake? Try some of these different ideas for cake toppers.

Comments

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

This Pittsburgh couple is using their engagement photos to raise awareness about one of their most passionate causes.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

Paying homage to the restorative power of nature, this deep green shade is one to watch in the coming year. Here’s how to use it on your walls.

Comments

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

From furniture to wall art and beyond, these local makers created one-of-a-kind pieces for your home or office.

Comments