By Jennifer Ortiz
HOWELL – The Hard Core Fit health and wellness center has raised $3,000 for five Howell elementary schools.
Hard Core Fit operates at the Candlewood shopping center, Route 9.
Owner Tony Riello said he came up with the idea to host a fundraiser for the schools through Pamela Richmond, a gym member who is the president of the Aldrich School PTO. The end result was a weight loss challenge that gave 50 percent of the proceeds to the Aldrich School PTO.
“(Riello’s) kids go to a different school than my kids, so we started (asking) why don’t we challenge your kids’ school against my kids’ school and then we started asking other (parent-teacher groups) and it kind of rolled from there,” Richmond said.
Five schools got involved in the weight loss challenge – Aldrich School, Newbury School, Taunton School, Griebling School and Memorial Elementary School. The money was awarded on Feb. 18. In total, Riello had 50 adults participate in the 21-day challenge based on a loss of weight by percentage.
“The (PTO) has done so many great things for the kids … so I wanted to basically give the money back to them for that. We distributed the money between the five schools,” Riello said.
The Howell K-8 School District’s parent-teacher groups hold activities, social events and fundraisers throughout the year. Richmond said the idea is to bring children together and to keep costs free or low, often with the option of obtaining donations if something is a charity event.
Speaking about the weight loss program, Richmond said, “Tony whips you into shape in no time, he’s tough. I learned a whole new health regime, learned all new exercises, and we met a lot of new people from different schools. It was pretty cool,” Richmond said. “We are all PTA moms, we are always buried in the same kind of stuff and we all have the same things going on, like who can’t get their kid out of bed or who was late for the bus. I can’t explain it, but (the workouts) were a little group therapy at the same time.”
Richmond encouraged anyone with fundraising ideas to attend a PTA/PTO meeting
“There are businesses trying to get off the ground and we are trying to support our local small businesses. If (a representative) wants to come to a meeting and talk to our members, I will help. Especially the small businesses, that is who I like to help, and they like to help us, so that’s a win-win,” Richmond said.
From the Hard Core Fit program, Aldrich School raised $1,179; Newbury School raised $739; Taunton School raised $690; and together, Griebling School and Memorial Elementary School raised $354. Aldrich School had the most members in the weight loss challenge (21). Memorial and Greibling won most weight loss percent average with a combined four participants.
Reillo said he is working on plans for another challenge fundraiser in the near future.