Jacinda Richards – Founder of L2R Next Gen Inc.

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Jacinda is the founder and CEO of L2R Next Gen Inc (L2R), a grassroots not-for-profit organisation that provides opportunities for young people to participate in free weekly hip hop dance workshops in Melbourne’s West including young people from culturally and linguistically diverse, newly arrived and at-risk communities. L2R provides more than just free dance classes. L2R aims to create a safe environment where young people can gain valuable connections and friendships, learn new skills in the arts and increase their confidence and ability to fully participate in their communities.

Jacinda’s professional dance practice spans many genres including, jazz, ballet, hip hop, contemporary, Latin and West African styles. Jacinda has had the opportunity to work as a dancer and choreographer both in Australia and internationally, including performances and workshops in remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley’s, Ghana and Korea.

Since 2009, Jacinda has worked as the Community Development Officer at Western English Language School (WELS) in both the Braybrook and Wyndham campuses. WELS is a school for newly arrived, migrant and refugee children that focuses on developing language and literacy skills before students enter mainstream schooling in surrounding Western suburbs. Jacinda is responsible for developing and delivering fun, engaging and educational afterschool programs that address immediate settlement issues that young people may face when newly arrived in Australia. WELS opened Jacinda’s eyes to the need for tailored programs specifically for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), migrant and refugee youth facilitated by experienced community arts practitioners. It was from here Jacinda gained the impetus to develop and establish L2R Next Gen Inc.

Jacinda worked with Department of Justice as a program facilitator and ambassador for the Live No Fear Program, that aimed to empower young women. Jacinda believes that through facilitating safe, nurturing and open discussions we can assist young women to make informed choices and foster bright futures.

In 2014, Jacinda graduated from Deakin University with distinction, completing an Honors degree with her qualitative, socio phenomenological research project, The role of Hip Hop dance in young people’s sense of well-being. This paper will be published in 2017 as a chapter in the book, Dance and the Quality of Life (Temple University, Department of Dance, Philadelphia, USA). Jacinda is currently study a Graduate Certificate at Melbourne University in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing.

Jacinda believes that participation in dance offers freedom of expression, space to embrace difference and explore our identities through the liberation of movement. Jacinda would like to emphasize that although humans differ in social identities, we have in common our human bodies.

Jacinda believes in one language… DANCE!

L2R

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