We had the good fortune of connecting with Debbora Childress and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Debbora, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I believe that in order to grow or move forward, you need to be willing to take a leap of faith. That leap of faith is called “risk.” Heading down a safe, known path is easiest; however, it might not enable you to fulfill your passion. In my case, being a single parent led me to stick to a known path. Then, my re-marriage allowed me freedom to look further and gave me the support I needed to finally take a risk and follow my passion. I have always known I would teach children. I pursued my college education in that direction. Combining my lifetime of dance training with my education seemed like a perfect fit. Leaving my full-time job at a community college to teach dance to children was a real “leap of faith!” I lined up a teaching position with a city arts program. That position fell through AFTER I left my secure employment. I had to scramble around and figure out a new direction, which ultimately led me to a position as a subcontractor for a city that had an abandoned dance instructor position. I stayed in that position for 30 years, creating a strong, vibrant, exciting program with loyal students and families that grew up with me, then sent me their children! My next “adventure” required leaving this position to strike out on my own after all the years spent nurturing this program. That leap of faith/risk led me to where I am currently – a small business owner offering dance classes in the same community. Most of my students/families chose to take the risk with me, and came along!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My love affair with dance began as a child. My studio had a pick-up service and would toot the bus-horn outside my house each week, thrilling my soul. I couldn’t WAIT to get to dance class! It is a feeling that has stayed with me for a lifetime. It has been a catalyst for my desire to provide children with the same opportunity and sense of belonging. Having another “home” away from school and peers where children can view themselves in a most positive light has been one of my lifetime goals. Offering a positive physical outlet filled with music, movement, friendships and joy is so important! I feel deeply that my connection to each child has made the difference. I actually, truly care about them. This business is not just about what these children learn, but about how they feel as they learn, and what opportunities arise from all their efforts. Of course there have been challenges getting to this point. I was a single parent for six years. This required that my employment be steadfast and benefit-filled. I waited to pursue my passion until I had the financial and emotional support of a loving husband/partner who always encouraged me to follow my dreams. I faced uncertainty when I finally broke away from traditional employment, and had to scramble around quickly when my “guaranteed opportunity” fell through. This scramble led me to a career path that has now spanned more than 30 years! I have learned that putting one foot in front of the other, keeping a forward momentum is paramount. Showing up, caring, being steadfast and reliable, forming positive relationships with children and their families results in success. Professionalism, education, training, all have a place in the mix; however, those qualities only support the rest. You can’t succeed at anything based on just these traits…you must develop the “caring and communication” parts of your relationships in order to become a success. I would like readers to know that because of the kind of dance school we run and the relationships we have built over time, we have been chosen BEST DANCE STUDIO in all of North Inland San Diego County for two consecutive years in a row! These are our first two years of independent business! I know that we have established a sound reputation in our community over a long history, which has paid off. 99% of our students came with us to our studio when we left the city program. We are growing even in the midst of a world-wide pandemic. It is an amazing journey to be on and we could not be more honored by the amount of love and support we receive.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Coming from a performing arts background, of course I would suggest tickets to a live performance! The Civic Theater in San Diego, Moonlight Amphitheater in Vista, Lamb’s Players in Point Loma, La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, Welk Resort Theater in Escondido and smaller venues including Horton Grand and Old Town Theater in San Diego all offer amazing shows! Next I would suggest having lunch at some of my favorite locations such as Casa de Bandini in Carlsbad, Stone Brewing or A Delight of France in Escondido, I would suggest a visit to the Oceanside Pier, Balboa Park and Old Town San Diego, La Jolla Cove and Quail Botanical Gardens, Carlsbad. I would definitely encourage a visit to the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, Sea World and DIsney Land! Due to COVID-19, each of these locations have suffered. When the world heals, it is my greatest hope that they continue to thrive so we can all enjoy these amazing venues.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My children and my husband deserve so much credit for supporting this leap of faith/risk. After spending many years as a self-employed sub-contractor for a city program, it became apparent that constant changes in administration and employees at the city level was causing my stress level to skyrocket. Reinventing my relationship with these coordinators who were in so much flux made continuing in this direction extremely frustrating. The facility where I had run my program for 30 years was also being demolished with plans to rebuild. I felt uncertain about where we would end up for the next two or three years while this occurred. This prompted my search for a new home, where we could continue our classes without the disruption of constant administrative upheaval and construction! My amazingly dance-trained adult daughter had been instructing with me for a few years and was all for the change. My adult son was probably my biggest cheerleader, constantly encouraging me to take the leap toward independence. My husband was supportive throughout. My family was my constant cheer squad!
Paul DaSilva, DaSilva Studio Photography Pam Davis, Savoring the Sweet Life Photography