Roberts ES in Las Vegas

Youth Dance

DEAEF YDP rgb 2000 sq

The DEAEF Youth Dance Program, a part of the DEA Educational Foundation, was established to empower kids by providing a free and positive afterschool alternative to drugs through the fun, healthy, and expressive art form of dance.

Founded/Pilot Program

The Youth Dance Program, now operated by the DEA Educational Foundation, was originally established in 1999.

In 2012 the DEA Educational Foundation acquired the program and branded it as the DEAEF Youth Dance Program. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and their field offices throughout the country support the program. The DEA Educational Foundation Youth Dance Program has grown to be one of the most successful after-school dance programs in the United States, positively influencing thousands of students each year by providing the healthy outlet of dance. Jill Roberts, founder and director of the DEAEF Youth Dance Program, is a former professional dancer and authority in after-school programs and drug education. She won the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama in 2009, in part, because of the dance program and her commitment to kids.

The DEA Educational Foundation Youth Dance Program was piloted in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. in 2012 with 10 programs and has now reached 58 cities in the United States.

Girls Inc., Manchester, NH Equilibrium Dance leads assembly in Kensington, PA Eagle Rock, CA students prepare for dance performance Green Acres students receive their DEA red ribbon and certificates.


The DEAEF Youth Dance Program begins at a participating school with an assembly led by a professional dance company. The professional company demonstrates different styles of dance to appropriate musical choices, speaks to the students as role-models, and asks student volunteers to try out movement during the performance hour. Students then may elect to register for a free 20-week dance class series led by a professional dance instructor. At the end of the series, students perform in a community or school performance setting, bringing family and other students together. Finally, students are encouraged to apply for scholarships at a local studio for long-term study in dance. Students targeted to participate in the program are primarily in upper elementary and middle school years.

The program curriculum incorporates the DEA Educational Foundation’s anti-drug messages and themes such as: participating in positive alternatives to drugs and gang violence, the building of self-esteem, teamwork, resisting negative peer pressure, and focusing on positive health and attitude.

Program Staff

The YDP and several other DEAEF Youth Programs operating under the same model as the YDP could not be operated and managed without our dedicated staff.

  • President & CEO/Youth Dance Program Founder

    Jill L. Roberts

    President & CEO/Youth Dance Program Founder

    Jill L. Roberts currently serves as the President and CEO for the DEA Educational Foundation overseeing the day-to-day operation and strategy for the DEAEF. Jill was the founder of the DEAEF Youth Dance Program and youth program model that was brought to the DEAEF in 2012.

    Read Full Bio
  • Training Director, DEAEF Youth Programs and Regional Manager

    Michèle Morris

    Training Director, DEAEF Youth Programs and Regional Manager

    Michèle Morris has had the privilege of working with the DEAEF Youth Dance Program since the inception of its predecessor, the D.A.R.E. Dance Program in 2000.

    Read Full Bio
  • Associate Director, DEAEF Youth Programs and Regional Manager

    Christina Ruiz Pastras

    Associate Director, DEAEF Youth Programs and Regional Manager

    She advocates for at-risk children and provides them with a safe space, mentors and a feeling of accomplishment through a drug free lifestyle and dance.

    Read Full Bio
  • Youth Programs Consultant

    Kiera Anderson

    Youth Programs Consultant

    She has always been passionate about access to arts education, and has taught workshops and classes for young people since 2002.

    Read Full Bio
  • Evaluation, Media and Project Consultant

    Meredith Liepelt

    Evaluation, Media and Project Consultant

    She is CEO of Rising Star Publicity, has guided thousands of business leaders and entrepreneurs to unearth, execute, and communicate their big ideas.

    Read Full Bio
  • Regional Director

    Cristine Dhimos

    Regional Director

    She began her professional dance career with what was then called the Alvin Ailey Third Company and toured the West Indies performing in such ballets as Revelations and Blues Suite.

    Read Full Bio
  • Regional Director

    Jodi Obeid

    Regional Director

    Jodi is a dance educator who believes deeply in the mission of the program and that all children should have opportunities for movement and self-expression.

    Read Full Bio
  • Regional Manager

    Allison Tanaka

    Regional Manager

    She has dedicated more than 20 years to working with nonprofit organizations and government agencies in multiple capacities ranging from program coordinator to development director.

    Read Full Bio

2022-23 DEAEF YDP Cities

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Allston, MA
  • Ambler, PA
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Arlington, VA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • Boston, MA
  • Bristol, PA
  • Camden, NJ
  • Charleston, WV
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dorchester, MA
  • Eagle Rock, CA
  • Española, NM
  • Fall River, MA
  • Gloucester, MA
  • Harvey, LA
  • Henderson, NV
  • Jersey City, NJ
  • Kennewick, WA
  • Kennett Square, PA
  • King of Prussia, PA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Lauderdale Lakes, FL
  • Lima, OH
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Manchester, NH
  • Memphis, TN
  • Menifee, CA
  • Nambe Pueblo, NM
  • New Bedford, MA
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Pomona, CA
  • Portland, ME
  • Prescott, AZ
  • Queens, NY
  • Quincy, MA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • Sioux City, IA
  • Soddy-Daisy, TN
  • South Dennis, MA
  • Spokane, WA
  • Wellpinit, WA
  • West Toppenish, WA
  • Tampa, FL
  • Taos, NM
  • Washington, DC
  • West Chicago, IL
  • Wilmington, DE

2022-23 Partnered Dance Companies/Instructors

  • Artivism Dance
  • Ballet Legato
  • Culture Shock Chicago
  • Culture Shock Los Angeles
  • Culture Shock Las Vegas
  • Dancing Earth
  • EmiArteFlamenco
  • Equilibrium Dance
  • Granite State Dance Company
  • HCDE
  • Hip Hop ConnXion
  • Hip Hop Fundamentals
  • Houston Ballet
  • Infinity Theatre Company
  • Lessons by Lexe
  • Lyn’s Dance Academy
  • Massachusetts teaching artists
  • Moving Arts Española
  • Maureen Bersuder Dance Company
  • New Ballet Ensemble
  • Polynesian Association of Alaska
  • Richmond Urban Dance
  • River City Youth Ballet
  • Samba Fogo
  • Studio Kin
  • Taos Dance Academy
  • New York City teaching artists and many individual professional artists from around the country

Local and National Program Sponsors

The DEA Educational Foundation is thankful to our national and local donors, fundraising platforms and sponsors since the start of the program in 2012. The following donors, whether one-year or multi year have allowed us to initiate and expand the program to reach youth nationwide.

  • Ahmanson Foundation
  • American Dance Movement
  • Anchor Free
  • Arts Council of Monterey
  • Athleta
  • CTBC Anti-Drug Educational Foundation
  • DC Pay
  • Dizzy Feet Foundation
  • Eastern Bank
  • Free Space
  • Global Giving
  • GE Foundation
  • Gregory and EJ Milken Foundation
  • General Mills Foundation
  • Mason Hirst Foundation
  • Our Gift of Light (Fancy Feet)
  • Ravens Foundation
  • Schneebeck Foundation
  • Siouxland Community Foundation
  • Target
  • thalo
  • Tulalip Cares
  • University of Iowa Dance Club
  • Walter and Shirley Wang/JM Eagle

  • Wells Fargo Bank

*We also thank our numerous individuals that contribute each year as well as the chairs and participants of the One Step at a Time campaign that ran from 2018-2022.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Partner

In FY2016, the DEAEF Youth Dance Program was selected as a community partner for the 360 Strategy, a national initiative piloted in four metropolitan areas by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The 360 Strategy was designed to be a holistic approach to combat the heroin and pharmaceutical opioid epidemic, as well as accompanying violence. The DEAEF Youth Dance Program recently fulfilled programs for this initiative, and is now working with DEA Operation Engage in 17 cities across the US, bringing multiple youth programs to communities in need of positive after-school activities for kids.

Your Support Is Needed

The DEAEF YDP is currently seeking funding for expansion to meet a waiting list of schools wanting to implement the Youth Dance Program. If you would like to be a part of our efforts to offer a positive alternative to kids, please contact us.

Contact & Inquiries

Nationwide Impact

  • 55+ cities

    DEAEF YDP reaches thousands of students throughout the nation

  • 50,000+

    students impacted through assemblies, events, virtual programming and more

  • 26+

    national community partners