Edit ModuleShow Tags
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 Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

New Restaurants That Opened in October in Pittsburgh

A tasting menu restaurant, Brazilian cuisine and new sandwich spot are among the offerings.

Steelers Have Changed the Narrative in Dramatic Fashion

A defense that was groping to accomplish the simplest of tasks has started to dominate. The offense has stopped getting in its own way and started exploding scoreboards.

The 400-Word Review: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Melissa McCarthy shines in an unconventional tale.

How to Plan Your Light Up Night Like a Pro

We've got a few tried and tested ways to enjoy the start of the holiday season without giving yourself a stress headache.

Just Films Series Opens Big Conversations

The screening series will next week feature "Served Like a Girl," about the lives of female veterans in the United States.

The 400-Word Review: Outlaw King

In Netflix's historical epic, Braveheart gets another chapter (and an upgrade).

More than $2 Million Raised in the Wake of Tree of Life Tragedy

The Tree of Life shooting shook the Pittsburgh community — but its reverberations reached way past city limits. Donors near and far have shown their support in a variety of campaigns and fundraisers.

"Gone With The Wind" Makes its 81-Year Return

Howard Schweitzer grants his late mother’s wish in returning a book to the Carrick library she checked out in 1937.

See What Pittsburgh’s Restaurant Industry is Doing for Tree of Life Victims

The city’s chefs, bartenders and food truck operators all have organized fundraisers that will take place in the next few weeks.

The Clarks Cover Elvis Costello for Tree of Life

The band’s cover of “Peace, Love and Understanding” will benefit victims of the shooting.

How to Curate Humanity at the Carnegie Museum

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has hired a new staff member whose specialty is to study how and why humans became the dominant force in the earth’s system.

In Just One Night Pittsburgh Brewers Raise Thousands for Tree of Life Victims

The event, held at Lorelei in East Liberty, had brewers scrambling back to their home bases for additional kegs.

A Tale of Two Weddings

In a theatrical performance set to stun audiences for years to come, this Pittsburgh couple took on two weddings — one featuring a mayor, a movie trailer and a secret marriage.

He Wondered If Pittsburgh Could Survive a Disaster – And Then It Did

The reporter who researched and wrote a story about how Pittsburgh might respond to a disaster got the answer much sooner than he anticipated.

The 400-Word Review: Boy Erased

Great performances lift the family drama. But was a better movie left behind?
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


How to Plan Your Light Up Night Like a Pro

How to Plan Your Light Up Night Like a Pro

We've got a few tried and tested ways to enjoy the start of the holiday season without giving yourself a stress headache.

Comments

Just Films Series Opens Big Conversations

Just Films Series Opens Big Conversations

The screening series will next week feature "Served Like a Girl," about the lives of female veterans in the United States.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
New Restaurants That Opened in October in Pittsburgh

New Restaurants That Opened in October in Pittsburgh

A tasting menu restaurant, Brazilian cuisine and new sandwich spot are among the offerings.

Comments

See What Pittsburgh’s Restaurant Industry is Doing for Tree of Life Victims

See What Pittsburgh’s Restaurant Industry is Doing for Tree of Life Victims

The city’s chefs, bartenders and food truck operators all have organized fundraisers that will take place in the next few weeks.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Don’t resign yourself to the gym treadmills just yet – fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and pound the pavement, surrounded by falling leaves and the possibility of grabbing a hot latte on the way home.

Comments

Love Sourdough? Find the Best There Is at These Five Bake Shops

Love Sourdough? Find the Best There Is at These Five Bake Shops

We dove into the local artisan bread scene to find the best places that bake naturally leavened bread in Pittsburgh.

Comments


Five Essential November Events in Pittsburgh

Five Essential November Events in Pittsburgh

Avian art, altruistic alt-rock and more November nights.

Comments

Ten Prohibited Pittsburgh Halloween Costumes

Ten Prohibited Pittsburgh Halloween Costumes

Locally-inspired Halloween costumes that you should, under absolutely no circumstances, attempt to wear.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers Have Changed the Narrative in Dramatic Fashion

Steelers Have Changed the Narrative in Dramatic Fashion

A defense that was groping to accomplish the simplest of tasks has started to dominate. The offense has stopped getting in its own way and started exploding scoreboards.

Comments

Words May Comfort But It’s What We Do Next That's Most Important

Words May Comfort But It’s What We Do Next That's Most Important

The vigils and the videos, the uniform patches and helmet decals, the public declarations and the moments of silence are as appropriate as they are comforting, but they’re not enough.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

The 400-Word Review: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Melissa McCarthy shines in an unconventional tale.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Outlaw King

The 400-Word Review: Outlaw King

In Netflix's historical epic, Braveheart gets another chapter (and an upgrade).

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
A Tale of Two Weddings

A Tale of Two Weddings

In a theatrical performance set to stun audiences for years to come, this Pittsburgh couple took on two weddings — one featuring a mayor, a movie trailer and a secret marriage.

Comments

A Dress of a Different Color

A Dress of a Different Color

The classic tune people hum when thinking about weddings says, “Here comes the bride, all dressed in white.” But some brides are marching to a different tune in a different hue.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Own a Piece of the Allegheny County Courthouse With New Gift Line

Own a Piece of the Allegheny County Courthouse With New Gift Line

Wendell August Forge is turning the century-old terracotta roof tiles into a line of collectible itms that include wall hangings and beer flight carriers.

Comments

Create a Halloween Keepsake with Make-It-Now Workshops

Create a Halloween Keepsake with Make-It-Now Workshops

Whether you’re an experienced artist or a creative novice, the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s workshops offer a way for participants of any skill level to get into the art of glassblowing.

Comments