Zumba fundraiser benefits troops

Fun Workout Emily Lockhart, instructor at Washburn, leads her class in Zumba, a Latin dance inspired aerobic workout. Lockhart has been certified as a Zumba instructor since 2006 and she will be participating in a “Zumbathon” fundraiser that will support military families.

Zumba fitness is a new offering in kinesiology at Washburn, and Emily Lockhart, instructor, is passionate about the subject and about its benefits.

“The beauty of Zumba is it can be very highly intense or low intensity,” said Lockhart, who has been certified in the sport since 2006. “It works with any fitness level. I love it. It’s a lot of fun, and I get to be creative.”

Zumba is Latin dance aerobics and was created in 2001 by Beto Perez, who accidentally invented it when he forgot the regular music for his aerobics class and decided to use the Latin music he liked to listen to. It caught on, and since then, millions of people have been having a lot of fun while getting in shape with Zumba, and Lockhart is thrilled to bring it to Washburn. Zumba incorporates such dance music as Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, Flamenco, Hip Hop and Belly Dancing into the routines.

Lockhart, who grew up in McPherson, Kan., received a bachelor of science and  master’s degree in physical education at Pittsburg State University. She has been teaching aerobics for 13 years. As the mother of two small children, Lockhart taught Zumba during her pregnancies, though not quite at the intensity that she teaches now.

She also used Zumba to lose more than 60 pounds after giving birth—twice.

Lockhart will be participating in a “Zumbathon” fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at The Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on 3625 SW Wanamaker Rd.

She and five other licensed instructors will be there to facilitate and teach Zumba to anyone interested. Any fitness level is welcome.

All donations received from the event will be donated to organizations that support military families. More details about how one can donate will be available at the event.

“Some of the things the groups does is send care packages to the deployed troops,” said Lockhart. “Nothing beats having the family—or anyone—sending things. It’s just exciting to get a package.”

Organizations like the National Guard’s Family Readiness Group hold activities dedicated to making life a little easier for everyone, though FRG’s activities are held on military posts.

“Maybe it’s as simple as the kids making Valentine’s Day cards, which is one thing we’re doing right now,” said Lockhart. “We had some of the pre-schools make valentines to send to the troops.”

While much of the funds raised go toward supporting troops abroad, a portion of the money also goes towards events for families at home who wait for their loved ones to return.

 “We want to help boost morale and encourage families at home,” said Lockhart, “because it is very hard to be away from a loved one.”