Shirley is the founder, leader, and den mother of Youth Alive, Pittsfield’s only step dance and drumming performance group. Youth Alive started when her children were teens and Shirley, a community organizer, quickly realized the benefits of having the kids focused on music and dance. As her children grew up, they took over coaching younger kids and the team began to perform all over the state. But Youth Alive’s real mission reaches beyond street performances — Shirley is guiding young people to live a life of purpose. Shirley explains how her service to youth is something that gives more than it gets — and she’s become a more open and joyful person because of it.