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Dancing Towards a Stronger Community with Zumba!

By
Moriah Santiago,   George Elementary School
Play:
Community Playtime – It’s Good for Everyone
Topics:
Access to Healthy Foods, Community Involvement,  Physical Activity Participation
Dancing Towards a Stronger Community with Zumba!

In the beginning of the year, the teachers decided they wanted to start working out together after school once a week, but were unsure of what to do. After discussion among teachers, one staff member connected us to a Zumba teacher who is also a parent of a past student at George Elementary. Iris started teaching us Zumba once a week, free of cost, to see if we would like it. After 2 weeks, we were hooked so she began teaching twice a week and only charging $2 per class! Out of the kindness of her heart, she didn’t want to charge us at all but we wanted to make sure she was compensated for her dedication towards improving our health in a fun way. Flash forward to five months later, and we are still dancing twice a week after school and have grown stronger as a community because of it. Parents, teachers, and other members of our Springdale District community come to laugh, dance, and sweat together. People bring their children who play together while we dance, and if you forget your $2 one day, Iris would rather you come and pay the next time rather than miss a class. This Success Story would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our Zumba teacher Iris and our community for being open to trying something new together. We will continue classes into the summer, and will add a nutrition component through adding post workout snacks, and learning together what our bodies need nutritionally after we workout.

How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?

We intended to make this Play last by continuing classes through the summer into next school year. All are welcome to attend Zumba classes, so we will continue to market the class through Facebook, emails, and posters so that everyone knows this is available to the community.

What improvements have you seen at your school?

Teachers who attend are excellent role models for their students to live a healthy, positive lifestyle that encourages sweating a little bit everyday! Even the students who come because their parents take the class get involved from time to time, either by dancing with us or stretching at the end. Either way, by the time class is over everyone is sweating from either dancing or playing around the gym.

How did you accomplish your goals?

We accomplished our goals through reaching out to the community. We now have a group of around 10 people who consistently show up, and we can hold each other accountable for accomplishing our health goals. Our goal was to work out together once a week after school, but we have surpassed that goal by working out together consistently twice a week, and adding a nutrition education component, and strengthening our ties within the community along the way.