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Zumba a step toward helping for Kauai woman

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    Zumba instructor Nicole Morris works with the Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko ensemble in Kauai.

LIHUE >> Nicole Morris said getting certified in Zumba instruction is in line with her plans for her future of helping the elderly and young people with special needs.

"That is something I’ve always wanted to do," said Nicole, who will celebrate her 22nd birthday this week. "Ever since I was 5 years old, I could imagine myself teaching a class of young people."

Nicole said her goal is not just to teach a class, but provide the students an education, The Garden Island reported Monday.

"Through the use of song and dance, my goal is for the students to get a better understanding of what is being taught," she said. "Special needs people don’t get the same respect, and they don’t get treated the same. Singing and dancing helps them express themselves and builds their self-confidence and self-esteem."

Nicole said her dream is to one day be able to help people — those with special needs, and the elderly who are homebound.

Getting her B1 Zumba certification with her mother, Danielle Morris, is just one step toward this dream.

"Next month, Nicole and I go to Oahu to become certified as Zumba Gold instructors," Danielle said while waiting on Nicole to finish practice with the Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko ensemble where she serves as a junior instructor. "This Gold certification allows us to teach new members as well as the elderly and people with special needs."

Nicole attributes this to Troy Lazaro and the Rockstars, whom she and her mom first saw while attending a 1-year birthday party.

She said it looked like fun, so she and her mom joined, getting hooked on the dance phenomena which is popular around the island.

"I give a lot of kudos to Troy and the Rockstars," Nicole said. "They were so supportive and Zumba became part of our lives. They were very fun to be around, and always try to get us involved in what they are trying to do. Troy offered us classes with instructors from Oahu, and we went for it."

Nicole said during the certification process, which started in November, she learned about Zumba Gold.

"It fit perfectly with what I wanted to do," Nicole said. "This is perfect."

She also credits her grandfather, Leonard Morris, and God for making things happen.

"My boyfriend and I wanted to move to the Mainland so I could get the training and certifications for what I want to do," Nicole said. "But a lot of things have been happening since I put Jesus in my life. My dream and passion to help just gets stronger. God blessed me with the skills of music and dancing. My job is to share this with others."

One of those events is that Nicole is free to travel to Oahu for the Zumba Gold certification this summer.

"The University of Hawaii at Manoa is starting a new program in 2016 where I can get certified and degreed for Early Childhood Education and Special Needs through its Distance Learning program," Nicole said. "Previously, they only offered Early Childhood Education. I’ve been taking classes ahead of this program so I would be ready once the program is launched. This summer, there are no classes so I have a break."

When school resumes with the fall semester, Nicole, who works at the Kauai Community College cafeteria, said she is going to be busy for the next two years.

"I’m pretty excited about it," she said. "Fall semester, spring semester, and even summers. I’ll be in school — a lot!"

With her God-given skills in music and dance, including the Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko’s strenuous and dynamic Okinawa style of taiko, Nicole said she now can help people here instead of having to move to the Mainland.

"Everyone has the passion for music and dance," Nicole said. "God gave me the skills and my main job is to share with other people. Everyone deserves to feel loved and to be confident in themselves. I feel really excited to be able to do this."

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