Page 67 - South Mississippi Living - December, 2023
P. 67

   Imagine a place where art, science, creative thinking, and technology are all under one roof. A place your children can take a dance class or participate in a computer coding course while you or your spouse prepares a home-cooked meal to take home for dinner. Sounds amazing, right?
Well, that’s one of the many visions of Alina Goldin, the executive director at the DEN or Dynamic Enrichment Network in Gulfport.
“Multiple activities, one roof,” Goldin said. “In addition to youth programming, the DEN will offer multiple enrichment opportunities for special needs children, adults, and senior citizens.”
The mission of the volunteer-based, nonprofit organization is to enrich the community in a collaborative space for the betterment of mind and body. The building consists of a gym, an auditorium, and six classrooms.
The DEN is in its first development phase and is moving quickly to become an organization committed to encouraging students of all ages to continuously create and learn. Since opening its doors on September 12, the DEN has offered
tumbling classes with Cheer Zone Athletics, dance with Kelli’s Steps, chess, art,
music lessons, etiquette classes, as well as nutrition courses with the Mississippi State Extension Services, and Women’s Self Defense courses.
“The programs brought to the DEN
will be ever-changing, depending on
the needs of our community,” she said, adding the name is a reflection of what the organization thrives to provide for the Gulf Coast.
“I struggled a while for the perfect name but the definitions of the words blend
for the perfect description of the DEN,” she said. “Dynamic is characterized by constant change, activity, or progress. Enrichment means the action of improving or enhancing the quality or value of something. The DEN is dedicated to enhancing the lives of every person that walks through its door with programs
and activities that expand their minds, strengthen their bodies and build their confidence. Network is a group of people who exchange information, contacts, and experiences. Here at the DEN, people of all ages can gather, share ideas and learn from
one another. It will be a place to make new friends and build lasting relationships.”
Part of relationship building for the DEN will be hosting fundraisers. “The DEN
does not have the usual annual fundraisers where you have to buy a gown or get a hotel room,” she said. “Our fundraisers
will be monthly events where entertainers or chefs will travel to Gulfport and we will conduct special events. We have already had two events in the short time we have been open.”
We have had “Dinner in the Dark” and guests were blindfolded as they enjoyed
a culinary experience. Another fun
event included a New Orleans magician enchanting a crowd with a family-friendly show of dazzling magic that also landed lots of belly laughs.
Additional fundraisers are expected
with hopes to add a science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics wing as well as a culinary department, a state-of-the- art dance studio, and additional restrooms.
“My vision is not to only offer classes but bring in programs and experiences we have never had here before on the Gulf Coast,” Goldin said.
story by Cherie Ward photos courtesy of The DEN
55 51st St., Gulfport 228.265.9818
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