**This article first appeared in the Great Neck Record and is republished with permission of Anton Media Group.
By Amanda Madenberg
Great Neck South High School’s Key Club coordinated yet another fundraiser for the Thirst Project recently, working hard to achieve its $12,000 goal to fund a well in Swaziland, Africa.
This time, there was a particularly good reason for participants to purchase water bottles—25 students, teachers and parents participated in an hour-long Zumba fitness class.
World Languages Department Chair Gala Handler and Health Department Head Jane Callaghan represented Great Neck South’s faculty by participating in Zumba and rocking an hour of fitness.
Led by Zumba instructor Fernando Zambrano, a full-time, licensed Zumba, dance and exercise instructor, Key clubbers and guests cheerfully spent a full hour dancing, exercising, sweating and hanging out with friends. Zambrano has loved dancing his entire life and said he was happy to help Great Neck’s Key Club, because it was nice to see high school students motivated for an important cause.
Key Club’s Presidents Matthew Portnoy and Alison Tair and Vice President Christyn Hung manned the snack and smoothie table throughout the event. The students blended mango and berry smoothies mixed with orange juice and frozen fruit. Healthy snacks, such as granola bars and pretzels, were also available. And, of course, everyone drank water after the exercise class—a perfect way to remind them of the Swaziland community, which doesn’t have access to clean drinking water.
Tair and Hung, along with Events Coordinator Jessica Boico, used their artistic abilities to create posters for the Thirst Project, which they promoted on social media, especially Instagram. Students enjoyed taking pictures and advocating for a cause that has become one of Great Neck South Key Club’s main projects.
Although the Zumba fundraiser required a lot of planning from Key Club board members, the event was a huge success. In just one hour, the club raised close to $500. After the event, students asked whether the class could become an annual fundraiser. The club hopes so.
The Key clubbers are planning additional fundraisers in the near future to support the Thirst Project, so they can reach their ambitious goal.