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This article is a part of the Chicago Fund for Safe & Peaceful Communities, which offers rapid-response grant opportunities to community-based activities that make neighborhoods safer.

“Our funding is getting cut left and right when it comes to arts, in the schools or even at state-level,” said Enneressa Davis, president and founder of the South Side performing arts nonprofit, Praize Productions.

But Davis refuses to let that stop her from making an impact on the lives of Black youth in Chicago. Since starting Praize Productions about eight years ago, she’s taught ballet, jazz and modern dance to dozens of kids and adults who’ve participated in her programs.

“I always feel like God put us here to be blessings to other people and that we are here to use our gifts and our talents,” Davis said. “I’m blessed that at the end of the day, no matter the ups and downs that comes with business, when I see what we are doing with the community, what we are doing for these kids, there’s no other word but blessed.”

A recent grant from the Chicago Fund for Safe & Peaceful Communities helped Davis put together this year’s dance recital, allowing her young dancers to show off the moves they learned this summer to their parents and friends.

“She got a lot out of it. She loved it,” said David Hall, a parent who attended the Praize Productions Showcase at the Congregational Church of Park Manor on July 26. “Every day she came home wanting to dance, sing, and I think that’s great.”

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