Elizabeth Ortiz is the Director of the Arts at Madison Square Boys & Girls Club’s Columbus Clubhouse in the Bronx. As head of the arts program, Ortiz provides lessons in photography, music, and dance, to members ages 6-18.

Under Ortiz’s leadership, the Columbus Clubhouse Dance Team performs at venues like the Apollo Theater, Madison Square Garden, and at Madison’s annual black tie gala.

Ortiz’s work goes beyond the Clubhouse walls. A former member herself, she understands the power and importance of mentorship. Here, in her own words, Ortiz describes the impact she has had on the lives of youth:

“I have helped to raise children from the age of 6 to 18. I give advice and help mold young people. My kids have gone on to attend college. Many are accomplished nurses, doctors, and business owners. What touches me the most is when they pursue dance as a profession. Aaliyah is just one example. Aaliyah was a member of the Columbus Clubhouse for ten years and danced in my program the entire time. After graduating high school, she pursued danced professionally and has performed with the likes of Alicia Keys, Drake, and others. I am so proud of all my kids.”