About the program

February 12, 2022

What the program is all about

Darby’s Dancers, a 501(c),(3) nonprofit organization, was founded in Huntsville by Darby Jones’ parents. Darby’s dancers offers children with special needs the opportunity to take part in the performing arts through dance education.

Darby’s Dancers are taught all types of dance in fun and encouraging classes that meet once a week. The program helps dancers feel like stars, and they gain coordination, strength, confidence, and strength. DD offers teens volunteer opportunities. Darby’s youth volunteers teach important lessons about friendship and responsibility by giving one-on-one support to each dancer.

DD classes are taught in donated studio space by volunteer dance instructors. DD is made possible by the charitable donations of local businesses, youth dance instructors, community studios, and dance teachers.

About Darby

Darby Emma Jones was born to Patrick Jones and Valerie Jones in Huntsville, Alabama. Darby was born with Down syndrome, a heart defect, and leukemia. She lived a life of passion, kindness and bravery. She has never met anyone she didn’t like. She was open to all people, regardless of race, disability, appearance or age. Darby loved to dance, read, and write. Darby never had a bad day, despite all her difficulties.

While undergoing treatment for her third bout with leukemia, and without a head covering, she started dancing in a silver tiara, and medical mask, at Huntsville’s Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center. This was in a class for children with special needs. Merrimack Hall gave her many opportunities to perform on the stage: at recitals, holiday shows, dance competitions and at nursing homes, fundraising events, talent shows, and other outdoor cultural events. She was a star in every way. She was a dancer with her friends, and always willing to help another student who was uncertain or afraid. Her sweet smile radiated joy and happiness.

Darby performed her final dance at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. Darby was unable to attend her beloved dance recital in spring 2013 because she was in hospital. The Merrimack staff and Darby’s friends came to the hospital, and the girls performed for patients, staff, and friends. As she has always done, she touched every life in the room without trying or knowing how. Six months later, she lost her courageous fight against leukemia but she never complained.

She fought her illness with dignity, grace and grace until the end. Darby lived a short life but was filled with passion for living, loving, and making people happy. She danced because she loved it. Her impact on people of all ages continues to be felt today.

Darby’s parents believe that Darby would have loved it if her children could dance like she did. Darby’s Dancers was established to continue Darby’s wonderful legacy and bring joy to as many special needs children as possible. Darby’s bright smile and twinkling eyes shine down from Heaven as her love and joy spreads to all of our future stars.