With pounding dance music setting the mood, approximately 500 people of all ages participated in the 3rd annual Zumba in the Roomba YWCA fundraiser event Saturday morning at the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex. Women, men, and children followed upbeat routines led by talented instructors, who were on stage and being telecasted on big screens at the front of the arena. [caption id="attachment_15200" align="alignleft" width="150"] Zumba in the Roomba was held on Saturday, Jan. 26 in the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex.
Gilbert Imbiri | Asst. Photo Editor[/caption]
Many local vendors were set up around the sidelines of the field, offering their goods and services while the crowd shimmied and shook around the GISC. The vendors set up elaborate booths, ranging from Scentsy scented warmers to fitness packages. Brightly-colored t-shirts featuring the Zumba in the Roomba logo were selling quickly to participants and bystanders.
The event organizers asked for donations to raise money to support the YWCA's Choices program. For every $5 that was donated, participants received a raffle ticket in hopes of winning a variety of donated prizes. The proceeds went to benefit the program and MWSU women's athletics.
"We're the only benefactor for the YWCA Choices program," head softball coach Jennifer Trouter said.
According to its website, "the YWCA USA is one of the oldest and largest women's organization in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls and their families." Their logo states that they are "eliminating racism, empowering women." This event did nothing but prove that to be true.
"We established the record the first year," Trouter said, referring to the Guinness World Record that the Zumba participants set. "Now, we average around 500 people," she said.
The women's softball team serve as mentors for St. Joseph's 7th grade girls who were selected to participate in the Choices program. Ellen Kisker is the director of the YWCA program and developed it with Trouter's help. The softball team wanted to help give back to the community in a way that would benefit young girls' lives.
"We wouldn't have the Choice's program without Jennifer's help," Kisker said. Choices works with middle school-aged girls to openly discuss life choices and developmental issues while building their self-esteem.
At the close of the event, participants appeared sweaty but energized as Trouter drew names for the winners of the many donated items, ranging from house cleaning to gift baskets from a variety of businesses. Shrieks went up from the audience, as they gathered in swarms in front of the stage. As people heard their names being called, they rushed to the front of the room to collect their prizes.
Both Trouter and Kisker said they felt the event was a huge success and they plan to host it again next year. The YWCA website states that the YWCA has "over 1,300 sites across the United States." Globally, the YWCA reaches 25 million women and girls in 125 countries. With sweat-covered faces, this organization definitely extended its hand to Saint Joseph's young women.