Melinda Richter learned the meaning of dedication on long drives up and down Highway 881, travelling from her childhood home of Janvier to Fort McMurray for her extracurricular activities as a child.
This dedication, paired with the unwavering encouragement from her parents to always follow her dreams, is what has led Richter to this point.
Owner and Artistic Director of YMM Dance Company, she loves Fort McMurray and its community.
“I don’t know if I have a favourite memory, but for me I think it would be a feeling. A feeling of how safe I felt growing up here. Everyone always looked out for each other and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to grow up,” she said.
Richter fondly recalls working in her father’s store in Janvier as a child, and how that experience taught her to be kind to everyone who walked through the doors.
For her, making people smile is something she has dedicated her life to.
“A simple smile can always make someone’s day.”
In the dance studio, Melinda makes sure her students always leave with a smile, “and a smile is contagious.”
As a child, Richter dreamed of growing up to become Oprah.
“Don’t laugh,” she said, “I loved her show and I loved her connection with people and how she made them and me feel.”
While she may not be a daytime talk show host with millions of viewers, Richter noted: “I do have a bunch of kiddos at the studio who have found their safe place, and maybe for one hour of their day, like the Oprah Show, they can get lost and forget all their problems.”