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Sweating with a purpose

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On two recent Saturday mornings, workout enthusiasts were at a local middle school gymnasium sweating for good causes.

A Zumbathon was held by Sigma Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. on Saturday Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. at Southern Middle School Gymnasium.

“I look at Zumba like having a party,” said Joy Hester, a Zumba Instructor who is mostly known as JoyBell when she is on the dance floor.

The Zumbathon had participants on the floor dancing to Latin, reggae, and international music in pink for nearly two hours.

“Yes, you’re burning calories, but you’re having fun doing it,” Hester said.

Participants also had a few breaks in between to catch their breath, grab a sip of water, and win prizes.

Nearly two weeks later, Jazzercise with the Sheriff was held by the Person County Sheriff ’s Department in collaboration with Jazzercise instructor and owner Stacey Davis at SMS gym.

“It was for an hour and it didn’t stop, said Lt. Cheryl Hughes.

The event was a nonstop dance party for participants combining pilates, yoga, kickboxing and strength training.

“We sweated like crazy, laughed so loud, and put a hurting on our muscles,” Davis said.

The Sheriff and deputies were also out on the dance floor giving community members the opportunity to dance along with them.

However, the sweating, the dancing, the laughs and the sore muscles were not in vain. There was a purpose behind both events.

“The program target was healthcare and wellness, and we were doing a Breast Cancer Awareness Zumbathon,” said Tawana Seets, Vice President of Sigma Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

AKA is a Greek sorority that helps to improve social and economic conditions through community service programs.

For this event, they used Zumba, a dance form with aerobics fitness, to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Participants were encouraged to wear pink and donate to the Person County Community Cancer Awareness Group.

Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and breast cancer survivors were also in attendance to dance.

According to Hester, Zumba is about coming together, spreading love, dancing, happiness and peace.

“They’ve always been sure to make jokes about Jazzercise, all in good fun. Those jokes led me to invite them,” said Davis.

Jazzercise with the Sheriff may seem like an unlikely combination and at first it was.

But after a few jokes and a couple of years in the planning, Davis and the Person County Sheriff ’s Department were able to collaborate to raise money for Shop with a Sheriff.

“It’s for children in elementary who are less fortunate. The teachers, schools and administration decides who gets picked or it is on an atneed basis, Hughes said.

Shop with a Sheriff is an outreach that provides Christmas gifts for children in the community. Several elementary school-aged children can shop with a sheriff or one of his deputies.

“We decided not to make things too complicated. We simply encouraged people to show up and show out! They absolutely did,” said Davis.

Together they were able to raise about $1,300 for Shop with the Sheriff to help nearly 16 children experience a merrier Christmas.

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