Copyright 2013 Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)
September 26, 2013 Thursday
BUSINESS; Pg. B1
|Gym offers free signups for mentor volunteers;
Defined Fitness joins campaign to boost Big Brothers Big Sisters
Jessica Dyer Journal Staff Writer
Helping kids may be good for your heart, but now it also could be good for your physique.
Albuquerque-based Defined Fitness is offering free, one-year gym memberships to new Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers, part of a campaign to find adult mentors for every local boy and girl who needs one.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico oversees more than 1,400 adult-kid mentorship pairings but still has nearly 200 boys in need of a "Big Brother."
Boys wait an average of two years for a match, and some will age out of the program before finding one, according to Marcy Patten, the organization's fundraising and special events coordinator.
That statistic "kind of hit our hearts because it's such a great program," said Defined Fitness marketing development representative Stefanie English, noting that the company hopes to help fill all the organization's volunteer slots by year's end.
"We want to end this wait for mentors," she said.
There is currently no wait for girls, though Defined Fitness is encouraging women to sign up to build a large pool of potential volunteers.
Big Brothers Big Sisters matches volunteers with kids ages 6-15 based on common interests and other preferences. Adults commit for one year and are asked to spend four to six hours per month with the child. It's free to participate, and the organization provides guidance and support along the way, Patten said.
To qualify for the free Defined Fitness membership, a new volunteer must complete the Big Brothers Big Sisters qualification and interview process, then be successfully matched with a child.
This new initiative coincides with Defined Fitness' 25th anniversary, a milestone the five-gym chain is celebrating Friday with a "Zumba Jam" party at its largest location.
There will be food and other family-friendly activities from 5-8 p.m. in the parking lot of the Defined Fitness at 3301 Juan Tabo NE. The Zumba session begins on an outdoor stage at 6:30 p.m.
Big Brothers Big Sisters will be signing up potential mentors during the event, but those not able to attend can still take advantage of Defined Fitness' offer for new volunteers.
For more information, call Stefanie English at 369-9050 or Marcy Patten at 837-9223, ext. 12.
September 26, 2013