STEUBENVILLE - Saturday afternoon's high temperatures didn't keep more than 50 women, men and youth from taking to the football field at Harding Stadium to engage in the high-energy dance moves of Zumba while also raising funds for the United Way of Jefferson County.
United Way Executive Director Beth Rupert-Warren said the Zumbathon, the first to benefit the local organization, was suggested by Amy Colantoni, who leads Zumba sessions at the Steubenville YMCA several times a week and is assistant director for the Upward Bound program at Eastern Gateway Community College.
To help her in leading the participants, Colantoni recruited six area Zumba instructors: Nicole Gabrielli, Heather Koehnlein, Stacey Mort, Jennifer Fouty and Bernadette Madden.
UNITED IN DANCE — Stacey Mort, center, was one of six Zumba instructors who led more than 50 women, men and youth in Latin dance moves geared at improving physical fitness during the first Zumbathon to benefit the United Way of Jefferson County Saturday at Harding Stadium. The event was suggested and organized by Amy Colantoni, a local Zumba instructor. — Warren Scott
Rupert-Warren said considering the heat and that it's the first year for the event, turnout was very good. She said she looks forward to working with Colantoni to hold a Zumbathon again next year.
She expressed thanks to the Steubenville School District for providing the location and a sound system for the event and to the following sponsors: Mr. Key, The Spot Bar, Aaron's, Tri-State Security, Apollo Pro Cleaning and Ambulance Service Inc.
Staff with Ambulance Service Inc. were on hand in case anyone needed medical assistance.
Participants were provided water bottles to keep them hydrated.
United Way Campaign Chair Anthony Mougianis said, "The great thing about these fundraisers is that 100 percent of the proceeds are used locally."
He noted the 19 area agencies supported by the non-profit organization help local residents in a variety of ways, from providing food to a hungry child to shelter for a victim of rape.
Rupert-Warren said such events also help to promote awareness of what the United Way does.
Noting the Zumbathon drew cheerleaders from Harding Middle School and Steubenville and Buckeye Local high schools and two Buckeye Local wrestlers, she said the event will help to inform younger residents and encourage them to support the United Way in the future.
She added it's not unusual for such events to attract as many as 20 new volunteers for the cause.
Mougianis said the United Way campaign isn't breaking for the summer, as a poker run is planned for July 13 at Manfred's Restaurant. For information, call (740) 284-9000.