In this Black History edition of Noire Ladyprenuer, we are highlighting Lydia Robinson – Founder & President of Scene –N– Action Productions Company (SnapCo). SnapCo is a non-profit organization geared toward teaching children self-awareness, self-confidence and loving their community through the performing arts.
The woman behind the pirouette
Known as Ms. Lydia in many circles, she is a creative who embodies the dainty qualities of her mother and the boisterous qualities of her father. Her parents also instilled in her, through action, what it means to give back to her community, being innovative, strong faith and what entrepreneurial spirit looks like. Coming from a family where restaurants, daycare centers, handyman services and salon ownership was the norm, Lydia recalls that as a child she had her own businesses – “I sold socks, lemonade, had a drill team in my community. I liked the idea of owning and creating my own”.
In determining what career path to take, she recounts that she knew exactly what she wanted to do. She studied Management and Entrepreneurship as a major and minored in Dance. “When I found that I liked the arts, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It became a purpose. I figured, how can I create a business to make a difference instead of it solely being about dance”.
Lydia started dancing as a quiet and shy pre-teen where she participated in a few theatrical pieces in school. Around that time, she was diagnosed with a rare tumor disease. She remembers being in the hospital with other children but having the desire to make them happy and to give back despite her own circumstance. “I was always nurturing”. Performing arts became her outlet. Even now, you can glean that she is a bit shy however, when she is on stage she steps happily into her artform as an extrovert. Some may describe her as a quiet storm.
In 2012, just after college, while working full-time the opportunity to open a dance studio came about at a local recreation center. The first cohort consisted of seven youth, many of them family members and children in the community. Over the years, the programs have expanded to incorporate theatre as well as dance. In a short amount of time, those first seven children blossomed into 18 dedicated youth. The families that started with the organization have continued to remain and bring other families into the fold. In 2020, despite the pandemic, there has been continual growth – a brand new location in Chestnut Hill, PA., outreach programs throughout the city for at-risk youth and virtual classes for children and adults. Lydia describes – “looking back, we participated in the Chestnut Hill parade for several years but I never thought that we would be here in this community in our very own facility. We have over 30 kids enrolled now and I am continually thinking about how I can give back and use my gifts and talents!”.
You’ll find with most successful people that there is a team of people supporting their growth and development – this is not absent in the SnapCo. founder’s life. “I’ve faced a lot of obstacles in life. I’ve decided not to allow the obstacles to take over, I don’t wear them on my shoulders. I choose joy! I choose to face the world. I am resilient, an overcomer”.
Her village consists of her family, especially her parents. Her pastors have also provided support through wise counsel and prayer. Mentor Yvette Solomon is her dance studio mentor and Joanne Frazier Dusant and Beverly Francios she credits for helping with obtaining the necessary business knowledge for the creation of SnapCo. In order to execute the vision of SnapCo. She relies on her board members who have been with her from the start of the organization.
It is because of the wisdom that has been imparted upon her, she can inspire others. Lydia’s advice for budding Ladypreneurs is “DO IT!”. She encourages that you educate yourself and surround yourself with like-minded individuals. “I would tell my younger self to not be swayed by others opinions, trust yourself and your abilities and to have more self-confidence. Let your passion be your career.”
“My goal is to diversify. I have a book that I am working on that is a spin-off from SNAPCo. I also have some future plans to do something in education as well as consulting to help people build their non-profit businesses.”
Parting Words and Advice?
“I think sometimes we get very fearful but that fear is about failure. Take the step, don’t let the fear of failure deter you because it can be a lesson and even if you fall, you can get back up and keep going. You want to live this life doing what you enjoy.”
Where to find SnapCo.
SnapCo is currently hosting virtual and hybrid dance classes weekly. There is also adult improve dance classes starting at the end of February 2021. Both are great opportunities to get into your resolutions for you and/or your children to participate in some fun forms of movement. You can find more information about classes and the organization at http://www.snapcompany.org/.