(Editor's Note: Amaiana Sajjad is a senior at North Plainfield High School and an intern with TAPinto North Plainfield.)

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – North Plainfield High School (NPHS) hosted its first community Zumba fundraiser for adults on April 6. Held in the NPHS gymnasium and organized by physical education teacher Alison Gomer, with assistance from guidance counselors Nancy Reyes and Joelle Bruno, the event benefited two local non-profit organizations.

Zumba, a dance fitness program created by Colombian dancer Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez during the 1990s, involves dance and aerobic movements performed to energetic music. The choreography incorporates hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, and merengue with squats and lunges also included. Gomer fell in love with Zumba while attending William Paterson and, in 2007, become a certified instructor.

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Throughout the school year, Reyes and Bruno organize fundraisers in hopes to get the students involved, and the Zumba event offered another opportunity to reach that goal. The idea for hosting this Zumba fundraiser was a collaborative effort between the counselors and Gomer.

“We like to host events to emphasize community service learning skills in our students,” said Reyes. “About twenty participants came out to the fundraiser, and it was an amazing experience.”

Through the Zumba fundraiser, $815 was raised and will be divided equally between F.I.S.H., North Plainfield-based non-profit organization that provides food and necessities to community members, and the Cedar Knolls-based Employment Horizons, a non-profit agency providing comprehensive employment, training and job placement services.

“This event is a bit more special to me because my older brother, who works at Employment Horizons, has autism, and it's an honor to be an instructor of something that will affect so many more people who, like my brother, is autistic,” said Gomer, noting that holding the event in April – Autism Awareness Month – made it ‘even more meaningful.’

"It was an amazing experience and for a great cause,” said fellow NPHS physical education teacher Erin Keenan, adding, “Gomer made it enjoyable for newcomers, as it was at very manageable pace for everyone that showed up.”

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