Children's TV star using music for good

A woman from Willenhall, who has starred on The Disney Channel and in the West End, has created a pop band to help boost the mental wellbeing of children.

Samantha Dorrance, who is originally from Willenhall, began her career in the limelight when she was 15 after winning a Disney talent competition called You're the Star.

Now aged 27, Samantha has hosted her own TV Show, worked on Disney movies, including High School Musical 3, Cbeebies and starred in Dreamboats and Petticoats as Laura at The Wyndham's Theatre in Leicester Square.

The children's entertainer has now started a new venture, Sammy & The Sparks, aimed at combatting anxiety and depression in children.

Samantha said: "I needed to create something of my own that I truly believed in. I have always written music and thanks to my struggles, I have a deep passion for self-help. I have collected some fantastic coping techniques over the years that have really helped shape me into my happiest, most content and self-aware self.

"I have never been able to understand why these techniques are not taught in schools. They are so important. If I had learnt these techniques as a child, my teenage years would have felt so much easier.

"Children's mental health is the biggest issue schools are facing right now so I have combined my love for self-help and songwriting to help change that.

"Our songs are specially designed to help combat anxiety and depression, helping children be emotionally and mentally as strong as can be."

The songs work by acting as affirmations, so as youngsters sing along, they are affirming strong, positive messages about self-love, self-reliance, coping and befriending anxiety, coping with bad thoughts and negative feelings.

Although her school tour has had to be postponed, Samantha is now moving the whole project online for parents to use during self-isolation.

Samantha added: "Since the outbreak, I have had some wonderful messages from teachers telling me that they have been using our Sammy & The Sparks songs in their classrooms to help reduce fear within the children.

"They are getting asked the same two questions everyday from their very young pupils: 'Am I going to die? Or is my family going to die?'

"Our new priority is to help and support as many children and their families by providing learning materials for home education and fun pop songs to help reduce children's fear surrounding coronavirus."

Songs and resources from Sammy & The Sparks can be found on YouTube, Spotify and https://www.sammyandthesparks.com/

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