Zumba and spin! They exercised for a worthy cause and proceeds went to The GRACE Foundation.

Amanda Gerla

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — With Zumba and spin classes still all the rage and a great way to improve muscle tone and heart strength, the fun pastime often doubles as a way to raise funds for charities and worthy causes.

So fitness trainer Eddie Russo brainstormed the idea to offer two spin classes involving indoor cycling at Retro Fitness in New Dorp, where proceeds would be earmarked for The GRACE Foundation.

Work out for charity

Eddie Russo, kneeling left, and other fitness trainers pose with those who participated in Zumbo and spin classes for charity. (Courtesy/Eddie Russo) Staten Island Advance

Linda and Joe Jaccarino, owners of Retro Fitness, and Russo joined forces with fitness instructors Nicole Freni, Tari Deliberti, Stacey Constantino, Jamie Daragjati, Debra Barraco, and Sean McCann and Zumba instructor Lulu Odeh — and the project quickly got off the ground.

Freni commented, “Motivation is what gets you started; habit is what keeps you going,” and Barraco called it “An amazing workout for a great cause.”

Work out for charity

Spin class participants work out for charity. (Courtesy/Eddie Russo) Staten Island Advance

Deliberti pointed out, “The class has so much energy, it was contagious,” and Constantino named the project, “Bike to the beat.”

“Linda and Joe opened the gym for a great cause,” noted Russo, known as “Spinmaster Eddie,” who along with other trainers integrated music and fitness techniques to offer their clients a challenging and “sweaty” workout. His motto was “Don’t stop, until you’re proud.”

Work out for charity

From the leeft, kneeling, fitness trainer Eddie Russo, client, Amanda Calafiore and instructor, Nicole Freni. (Courtesy/Eddie Russo) Staten Island Advance

Classes were opened to members and non-members.

Work out for charity

Participants in a spin class for charity. (Courtesy/Eddie Russo) Staten Island Advance

“Some of the riders have children with disabilities or are on the autism spectrum,” Russo continued. “So we, as instructors, enjoy giving back to those who support the gym and to the members who have struggles at home. We want to applaud the parents who have children or a child with autism and still come to the gym with a smile on their faces. We had a great time supporting them.”

McCann chimed in: “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”

Work out for charity

Participants at Zumba and spin classes for charity, smile for the camera. Waving is Zumba instructor Lulu Odeh. (Courtesy/Eddie Russo)Staten Island Advance

Odeh said participants were, “Dancing for the stars, the ones that shine.”

And when all was said and done, $3,500 was raised and donated to the GRACE Foundation, an organization committed to increasing the quality of life for children, teens, adults and families living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“It’s always humbling to see our community come together with such creative and innovative fundraisers and the Retro spin event is a great example of a ‘well-spun event,’” said Cathy Del Priore, the executive director of The GRACE Foundation. “Eddie Russo and the entire team at Retro Fitness came together with their hearts and souls to give back to GRACE. We cannot thank them enough for supporting GRACE while spinning and creating a positive community collaboration.”


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