HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A dance outreach program southeast Alabama is looking for financial support for students.

The popular Patti Rutland Jazz outreach program has started fundraising effort to gather financial support for the outreach, the Dothan Eagle (http://bit.ly/2cMP20v) reported. The program provides dance instruction for more than 7,000 students in the Dothan area.

“Some children who are having difficulties in other areas of school curriculum find an expressive outlet in our program,” said Patti Rutland-Simpson, owner of Patti Rutland Jazz. “Not everyone is an athlete or a scholar. For some students, the arts will be the only place they fit in.”

The program costs $52,400 per year. The Dothan City School pays $14,000 of the cost. Grants and private donations take up the rest.

“This year we have 10 principal dancers and between them and outreach director Vincent Johnson, they teach at all the schools on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays,” she said.

Rutland-Sampson said students who struggle with other school curriculum can expressive themselves through the program. She says the program provides an invaluable experience for students.

Program instructors are members of the Patti Rutland Jazz dance company. The program provides extra income or instructors while working with the outreach program.

Instructor Jameka Oates said she enjoys having an impact in young people’s lives through the program. Recently, she was swarmed with high-fives and hugs from students in a gym at Selma Street Elementary.

“I love it,” she said. “I have a bad habit of hugging. I love the hugging.”

The DCS/PRJ dream team solicits donations from individuals and businesses that can donate $500 per year to the program.