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Group raises $1,100 for at-risk children with exercise challenge at YMCA

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Will King, a personal trainer and owner of Studio Fit on Main Street in Medina, joins the action at a fundraiser called Burpees 4 Gifts he organized Saturday at the YMCA in Medina to benefit underprivileged children.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 9 December 2018 at 9:01 pm

Rita Zambito of Medina, front, joined a handful of exercise buffs Saturday at the YMCA to do burpees for money to provide Christmas for underprivileged children. At rear are Mike Zambito, Teresa Wilkins, and Lindsay Eaton.

MEDINA – A personal trainer in Medina found a unique way to turn muscles into money to help at-risk and underprivileged children have a happy Christmas.

On Saturday morning at the YMCA, Will King, who recently opened Studio Fit on Main Street, sponsored a fundraiser called Burpees 4 Gifts, in which he challenged anyone to come and do burpees for 30 minutes.

For those who aren’t familiar with a burpee, it is an exercise used in strength training which combines a squat, push-up and thrust (or jump-up).

King wanted to do something to help those less fortunate and chose to donate to New Directions Family Services in Lockport, an agency which helps at-risk and foster children in Orleans, Niagara, Monroe and Genesee counties. He formerly worked there and knows the need which exists, he said.

When King approached the YMCA, director Gred Reed offered to let King have use of a fitness room for the event, in which those participating got sponsors and then did burpees for 30 minutes.

One of those was Sandra Baxter of Albion, who thought the event was pretty exciting.

“I like to exercise and have done it for years, so I joined Studio Fit as soon as he opened,” Baxter said. “And I enjoy doing things to help others.”

Participants jumped and moved to a variety of holiday tunes, including “Jingle Bell Rock” and “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” taking an occasional break to catch their breath before starting a new round.

Several, including Kelly Moriarty and Vanessa King did 60 burpees before taking a short rest.

Among a dozen supporters who participated in Burpees 4 Gifts Saturday morning at the YMCA are, from left, Mike Zambito, Megan King, Rita Zambito, Teresa Wilkins (partly hidden), Kelly Moriarty, Lindsay Eaton, Vanessa King, David King, Fredericka King and Sandra Baxter.

At the end of the 30 minutes, the group had completed a combined 2,753 burpees and raised $1,100 in donations.

The object of the event wasn’t to be a fitness challenge, but a way to do something enjoyable for a good cause.

Rita Zambito, owner of Zambito Realty, trains with King and wanted to show her support, she said.

Anyone may still make a donation to the cause by sending or bringing a check for New Directions Family Services to Will King at his studio, 525 Main St., upstairs, from 5 a.m. to noon and 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Since I had such a great turnout and support from local businesses and the community, I have plans to do this fundraiser again as an annual event,” King said.

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