Zumba Kids, Strong Kids and Big Kids

DJ Frances, Davis Bou, Marcie Gill and Cristina Rodriguez recently lead a Zumba Master Class for kids at the Pelham Family YMCA. (Special/Connie Nolen)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

Davis Bou approached the Zumba DJ table. Excited about participating in a Zumba Master Class for kids, Davis wanted to find out how much longer he had to wait for class to begin last Saturday morning.

Davis likes Zumba because of his mom, Aline Bou. She said, “Zumba is the first exercise that I’ve ever enjoyed.”

An avid fan of Zumba Instructor Cristina Rodriguez, Bou said, “I’ve lost 22 pounds and I feel so much better than I did before.”

Not only does Bou, a Briarwood math teacher, look and feel amazing, she’s also sharing the joy of movement with her son. Davis was the first on the floor for the Zumba Kids’ Master Class.

Zumba Kids were supporting Strong Kids, the YMCA’s annual campaign drive to make sure all children have an opportunity to participate in YMCA programs. For the Saturday Zumba Kids’ Master Class, most families donated between $15 and $20 to support the Strong Kids Campaign.

Friday Night’s Adult Zumba Master Class raised more than $5,000 for the Strong Kids Campaign. In 2010, thanks to Strong Kids donations, more than 3,200 kids were able to participate in YMCA after-school and summer day camps — and they also had the chance to learn to swim.

Pelham Family YMCA Aquatics Director Jennifer Dick proudly revealed her favorite Strong Kids bulletin board encouraging donations so all kids can learn to swim.

“I’m a little biased,” Dick said, “but I love the swim bulletin board most.”

Bulletin boards throughout the YMCA encourage members to donate to Strong Kids. Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday arrived late this year, but at the Pelham Family YMCA, Mardi Gras purple and gold decorations created these bulletin boards, adorned tables, walls and even a Mardi Gras tree in February to focus members’ attention on the Strong Kids Campaign.

Everyone in Zumba class is not only huffing and puffing, but also smiling. Even the adults look like a bunch of happy kids. Bou is right. Zumba class participants are enjoying a great workout; they’re having a lot of fun and last weekend, they were also donating to a worthy cause. Zumba participants of all ages made sure that the Pelham Family YMCA will be able to continue welcoming kids of all ages and income levels providing important instruction, supervision and a strong dose of fun.

Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at CNolen@Shelbyed.k12.al.us.