Interested in starting your own journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jari Majewski Price, Co-Founder and CEO of Feel the Beat, located in Englewood, CO, USA.
What's your organization, and who are your members?
Founded in 2016, Feel the Beat is a Colorado-based 501c3 nonprofit organization and dance studio that is dedicated to making the experience of music possible for all, including those who are deaf, hard of hearing, and/or with or without disabilities. With our bone-conduction dance floor, students are able to feel sound through vibrational energy that embodies the experience of music in an inclusive platform.
FTB seeks to build a community for dancers of all abilities where accessibility is a focus. We also seek to connect with other nonprofits, dance programs, schools, and businesses with the overall goal of increasing the accessibility in each community our dancers are in. The more public places that are accessible, the better! Our innovative technology is just one of the ways Feel the Beat can help to make public spaces in the community more accessible.
Tell us about yourself
My career plan has changed a few times! Each time it changes, I feel I have ultimately gotten closer and closer to my dream job, which is creating FTB. Initially, when I was in college, I dreamed of being a Broadway interpreter and performer in Deaf Theatre. I wanted to combine my passions of using sign language and doing musical theater, and spending time touring with the National Theatre for the Deaf fulfilled just that. I later continued my education, pursuing a master’s in deaf education so that I could combine again my passion for sign language but also my joy of working with young children. My time in the classroom brought me experience, challenges, and joy, and is ultimately the place where I met my co-founder, Julia Faliano. The challenges that I faced not only as a public special educator but also challenges that my students and their families were facing gave me the courage to make my most recent career jump into founding a nonprofit.
Julia and I noticed that there weren’t many extracurricular activities available for our deaf students or our students with disabilities where the instructors and staff would be knowledgeable about how to meet their individual needs or where they could receive instruction in their primary language of American Sign Language. To this day, it is still the goal of each of our instructors to individualize the dance class experience for each student. Everyone is not only seen, welcomed, and heard here, but they are also forming in-depth relationships with our instructors and thriving within carefully constructed environments where they can be themselves and find success as dancers/in the arts.
My why is for the genuine, ear-to-ear smiles I see every time I teach a class. As a child, music and dance gave me a community in which to build lifelong friendships and thrive creatively. To be able to create space for so many other children and adults brings me constant motivation. The more children and adults we can serve in a fully accessible and inclusive space, the bigger my hopes and dreams grow for FTB.
What's your biggest accomplishment as an organization?
As founder and CEO of Feel the Beat, I am proud of the accomplishments that our organization has seen over the past year, including the following:
- Second Patent received for the Feel the Beat floor technology
- Installation of our state-of-the-art vibrotactile flooring in both our new permanent dance studio located inside the Charles Whitlock Recreation Center in Lakewood, CO, as well as at Brewability Lab in Englewood, CO
- Launched a new class curriculum at our dance studio in Whitlock Recreation Center with two successful seasons of classes held so far
- Increased the number of recurring private group classes with organizations such as Real Life Colorado, Active Belief, Care & Community, Rocky Mountain Deaf School (RMDS), Colorado School for the Deaf & Blind (CSDB)
- 15+ new partnerships attributing to an overall impact of 1000 new students
- Two new partnerships with organizations who will be installing the Feel the Beat flooring technology
- Received ten new grants from various organizations including from the Creative Ideas Fund, Douglas County, Developmental Pathways, The Denver Foundation, Energize Colorado, Jason Mraz Foundation, and more
- 2023 grant recipient and host organization for intern candidates enrolled in the Diversity In The Arts Internship Program
- Donations from individual donors doubled over the past year
- Publicly endorsed by Dancing with the Stars Pros and the Bachelor’s Ben Higgins
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being an organization?
Learning how to have it all. Having a complete work-life balance while continuously expanding both personally and professionally.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow an organization today?
I would say focus on being authentic, collaborative, community-minded, and most of all, courageous. If you are passionate about something and want to be a positive disruptor that cultivates and propels people and causes, find someone in that particular space and try to learn from them. Ask questions and challenge the status quo. From there, you can start to see how to carve out your own space with innovative and creative solutions that make a difference in the community.
Where can people find you and your group?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.