By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
Zumba wasn’t just for exercise at the YWCA of Youngstown on Saturday morning.
Women donned exercise clothes and contributed $5 to participate in the YW’s first Zumbathon. Proceeds benefit the YWCA’s housing, empowerment and youth-development programs.
Four 45-minute sessions of the dance-based fitness program were offered and taught by various Zumba instructors.
The idea was the brainchild of Jacqueline Robertson, a Zumba instructor at the YW.
Zumbathons frequently are used to raise awareness for causes, Robertson said.
“I thought it would be an awesome idea to get the community together here,” she said. “It kind of gets people aware of what’s going on in our community, as well as here at the YWCA.”
The event ties in with new programs offered at the YW, said Varada Bhide, YWCA communications coordinator.
The YW, located at 25 W. Rayen Ave. near Youngstown State University, downtown, recently began offering Zumba, stressercise and yoga classes for residents and members of the community, she said.
“We have kind of shifted our focus from health and fitness to more social services and human welfare,” Bhide said. “But this is also a part of everyday life. We need healthy, fit individuals.”
The classes are free to YW residents. They are open to members of the community for a small fee.
“I enjoy them,” said Jackie Rogenski, a YW resident who participates in the classes.
“I do as much as I can since I’m kind of limited in what I can do, but I do them. And I really appreciate them getting them here.”
Rogenski uses a walker.
She also thought the Zumbathon was fun.
“I think it’s great. And a lot of people showed up for it,” she said.
A friend told Elizabeth Wilson of Leetonia about the Zumbathon. She thought it was for a good cause and decided to participate.
She said Zumba is fun.
“I like some of it,” Wilson said.
She finds she can’t perform all of the movements in the routines, though.
“But some of the routines I do like,” she said. “I just modify them to what I can do.”
She thought the Zumbathon was a good way to raise money for the YW.
“I think it’s good because people are more apt to come to something like this than to just plainly donate money,” she said.