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Conversations with Wanda Winters

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wanda Winters.

Hi Wanda, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I organized the Pythons Drill Team in 1986. My goal was to provide a safe outlet for youth to learn, express, and showcase drills and drumming through the Performing Arts arena. I started with 10 girls performing to a boom box with cassette tape. After 2 years of directing the team, I added drums, flags, and rifles to allow not only more girls, but boys to join as well.

I also became a non-profit business to create an avenue for disadvantaged youth equal opportunities to perform, travel, and acquire lifelong healthy habits that will help them become great citizens for their community. I’m celebrating 35 years of serving my community with compassion and dedication to teaching, mentoring, and having a positive impact/avenue for youth to free their minds, souls and hearts.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s not haven’t been easy, of course. Keeping my business operating successfully, although, with many ups and downs, I have to muster up all the creativity, energy, positivity, and business knowledge. Most times, I’m out of pocket to meet the needs of my services. For example, poverty is a real issue, and many people are facing economic hardships.

The performing arts need saving, and arts programs in schools are being cut, putting the burden on nonprofits, such as mine to respond quickly to unpredictable situations and deliver much-needed services. Maintaining affordable membership, uniforms and travel become a struggle as well.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I prepare a team of talented youth to showcase what I’ve taught them during practices. I am a creative dance and drill instructor. I am known for outstanding leadership and the Pythons producing hand-clapping performances and winning several 1st and 2nd place awards at local and regional competitions.

The Pythons Drill Team is the second oldest operating team in Kansas City, Missouri. The team has traveled to Chicago, Dallas, Memphis, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, New York, Dayton, Nebraska, St. Paul, Atlanta, Orlando, Louisiana, Jackson, and Des Moines. I was also featured on Netflix reality show “Queer Eye” Season 4 Ep. 4 and Lifetime hit show “Dancing Dolls”.

I’ve hosted and organized “Drill Team Night” for the UniverSoul Circus for 3 years. Coordinated food and coat drives, college and health fairs. Produce my own drill team 45 min documentary “Blow the Whistle” in 2018. Received “Key to the City” by the 3rd District in 2018

What matters most to you?
Saving youth from the negativity of the streets (i.e. Gangs, teen pregnancy, the importance of education). Providing a safe outlet and offering life-changing opportunities for them to look forward to.

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