Hillsides Education Center in Pasadena, a center for at-risk children, was in desperate need of physical education equipment. Shannon Pondella, owner of Surface Fitness in Montrose, with Mackinsey Woolever presented an assembly in October sponsored by Glendale-based Las Candelas for Hillsides’ students ranging from third to 12th grade. Topics covered included healthy eating and the importance of being active, and they taught the kids about cardio health and how to monitor their heart rate.
After the presentation, Pondella and Woolever received feedback from the children making them realize that just presenting for one hour was not going to change lives.
“We left with so many feelings and thoughts running through our heads on how else we can help this school and the children,” said Pondella.
Learning that the school did not have appropriate equipment for their physical education program, Pondella spearheaded a fundraising effort to meet this need. For every child who attended a class at Surface Fitness, the company donated $1 for new PE equipment. In addition they also held an evening community event at the gym to raise additional funds. In total over $1,300 was raised and, with help from Gopher Performance, they were able to donate workout gear medicine balls, ropes, mats, agility hurdles, jump ropes, basketballs, soccer balls and more. The children recently got to test out the new equipment in Hillside’s indoor gym – a perfect activity for a rainy day.
Submitted by Nancy STONE