Thibodaux Zumba Instructor Dances for Africa
by Jacqueline Weimer
Do you want to join the party? The Zumba fitness party, that is.
For the second year, dance instructor Emily Rini plans to host Zumba Love for Africa to benefit Refuge 127 and the mission’s efforts to assist the Hope Refuge School in Uganda, Africa. This year, the event will take place from 3:30-5:50 p.m. on Aug. 5 at the Nicholls State University Student Union.
“Last year, I had heard that Mandy and Shay [of Refuge 127] were going to Africa, and I thought it was awesome,” Rini said. “Everyone loves to go to Zumba events, and I thought maybe that could help fund the trip—I wanted to do something to help.”
Mandy Holloway founded Refuge 127 in 2007 to assist with orphans and foster children in local communities. From there, the organization expanded its efforts to Uganda with the Hope Refuge School. The couple, along with 20 other volunteers, will journey to Africa in January to continue their mission. While there, they will work on anything to help the school, from constructing buildings for the school to organizing activities for the children.
“There are a lot of passionate people from all walks of life, all religions,” Rini said. “We are coming together to help these children. Zumba Love for Africa helps fund their trips.”
The money raised by the Zumba class helps to pay for plane tickets, immunizations for the travelers, Bibles for the children, and hygiene products.
“For the most part, it all goes to the actual orphans and helping them,” Rini said.
Before and after the Zumba Love for Africa classes, slide shows of the previous trip will be playing.
Last year, the event participation was at about 75 people. This year, the goal is to get over 100 people dancing. Tri City Zumba out of Morgan City will also be participating this year with the instruction of the Zumbatomic class for children. The event has expanded with local businesses helping out by sponsoring T-shirts. These same businesses will also have expo tables with a few samples of their products available for participants.
Thinking of dancing your way to a fitter, healthier lifestyle? A Zumba “workout” is a whole lot of fun. It’s not only a local trend—its influence is worldwide and continues to grow.
“I’ve been teaching for two years now,” Rini said. “It just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”
Zumba is actually a worldwide company in over 50 countries. Each instructor creates his or her own pace, speed and style that can match each person’s needs.
“If you don’t mesh well with one instructor, you can find another,” Rini said. “It’s also fun. You don’t actually realize you had a workout until you’re done.”
That contributes to the diverse appeal of Zumba classes. Rini instructs classes to people as young as 14 and as old as 70.
“It appeals to everyone—all ages, all shapes, sizes and abilities,” Rini said.
Anyone interested in the second annual Zumba Love for Africa can sign up during one of Rini’s classes to reserve a shirt size, or show up the day of the event. Participation is $10 for children ages 4-12 and $25 for those age 13 and older; a shirt is included for adults. Rini’s schedule can be found at emilyrini.zumba.com. For more information about the event, contact Rini at 985-448-3697.