The mission of The I Keep Dancing Fund is twofold:
1. To provide financial assistance for women and men over the age of 25 seeking higher education opportunities.
2. To build a community of support for those suffering grief.
There are many ways to get involved and carry the "I Keep Dancing" message with you! Whether you are grieving, helping a loved one face a life-altering challenge, or are simply touched by our story, check out the ways below to be a part of our community!
1. give to the scholarship
We created the I Keep Dancing Scholarship to provide funds for students over the age of 25 to lessen the financial burden of higher education. This scholarship will be awarded to those who demonstrate their choice to dance through adversity in the pursuit of their career goals. Click the Julia Gardner Fund to donate once you are led to the OC Scholarship page.
3. connect with us
So how exactly do we dance through this pain? When our sister Julia passed away, we were blown away by the support of our community, and by the outpouring love from our friends and family. Before she died, we wouldn't have been able to share how best to help loved ones experiencing grief. We had never been through it before! Now on the other side of grief, we take note of specific actions people did that gave us great comfort in the darkest days of our lives. We hope to 1) encourage those going through any form of grief, loss or life-altering events through our blog posts chronicling our own challenge to keep dancing, and 2) give practical ways to help if you know someone going through something painful.
We know that our loss is not unique. Talking to people who have walked this path continues to create a community of vulnerability and solidarity. We want to hear your stories, too. Please share your stories or just spread the word about "I Keep Dancing" with our Instagram and Facebook images. Connect with us on social media by using #ikeepdancing or send us an email!
5. Get inked!
Julia had “I keep dancing on my own” tattooed on her foot, lyrics to a Robyn song she loved. When she got it, Jules laughed as she explained that, well duh: she wasn’t afraid to dance when no one else would. Now, though, we recognize that her tattoo revealed something deeper. Julia encountered challenges and setbacks that would send most to languish in despair, to wallow and complain, or to quit. But Jules never did. She kept fighting. She kept moving forward — with joy, and grace, and humor. She kept dancing.
Today, “I keep dancing” is something of our family motto as we dance through this grief of living without Jules. So far, the tattoo tally is up to 25, and counting — several of those 25 had never even met Julia, but are encouraged by the universal truth and bravery to dance with joy in the midst of pain.
We invite you to join us in this declaration – to live boldly and bravely through grief and life altering challenges – and to use the below tattoo templates (either calligraphy or a more modern san serif font), if you are so moved to do so. Post your photo, and share it using the hashtag #ikeepdancing so that we can share it, too. The gallery below is everyone with the tattoo so far!
We got a girl, her name is Christina Harris. She is an incredible tattoo artist and has tattooed most of us with "I Keep Dancing" calligraphy along with the various other tattoos people got in Jules' honor. She has been so much a part of our story and would love to tattoo anyone interested in getting "I Keep Dancing". Contact her here: (562) 743-5530. Send her a text to see when she is available! She is also donating a percentage of each tattoo to the scholarship fund. Thank you Christina! We love you!