by Kavita Mehta
The Y is encouraging more Westfield residents to get into the groove by supporting the Strong Kids Campaign. To raise money, the Y held its first annual Zumba Fest led by Instructors Theresa Harris and Christina Kaveney on Jan. 28.
Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance workout, combines cardio and fitness into simple, calorie-burning dance moves. Because of its recent popularity among members, Zumba was chosen as an event in this year’s campaign. The Strong Kids Campaign is a financial aid initiative which allows local residents and employees to access facilities and programs offered at the Y.
According to Communications/Development Director Bonnie Cohen, last year the campaign raised $299,100 and was able to provide 296 individuals with aid. Eighty-six percent of the funds went to the children’s day care and summer camp which allows parents to leave their children in a safe environment while they are working.
“The Zumba Fest was a great way to be active and to know that you’re doing something for someone else,” said Kaveney. She added that events such as Zumba bring out people who normally would not come. Said Harris, “The room was at full capacity with about 70 participants.”
WHS junior Christina Gulla said she was glad to contribute to the cause by doing something as exciting as Zumba. “It was really fun, and it gave my friends and me something to do while giving back to the community.”
According to Harris, the Y will hold another Zumba Fest on March 24 to raise more money for the Strong Kids Campaign. “[Combining] my passion for exercise with fundraising is very fulfilling for me,” added Harris.
In addition, the Y will host a World Yoga Day on Feb. 26 and is planning to have a volleyball tournament, track meet and three-on-three basketball game in May, according to Harris and Kaveney. All profits will benefit the campaign.
Said Kaveney, “I’m proud to work for an organization that’s not only healthy physically but also healthy in mind and spirit.”