This summer I decided to ditch my plans to go to an all-inclusive resort in favor of doing work closer to home. For months, I’d complained to my friends about the growing number of young women in my neighborhood who were overweight, to the point of being obese. I had known one of these young ladies when she was my student in elementary school. She worked hard in class and applied herself to the physical fitness routines we taught. I was disappointed to see that at age 16, she was uncomfortable in her own skin. Her weight was causing health problems, her self-esteem was low and she appeared to be struggling in class. I was confident I deserved to get away from the stress of the city, and watching as this escalating weight problem grew in my county was a part of that frustration. A friend told me about ACE Fitness, the American Council on Exercise and asked me to join her in Central America where she planned to spend part of the summer. She had plans to do what she called “voluntouring,” using her vacation time to tour villages and apply what she had learned through ACE to the local populations. I loved the idea of working in Belize. It was near the coral reef I wanted to see and the lush country side would provide some much-needed solace.
I contacted the folks at ACE after finding a Groupon that offered discounts on some of their most popular programs and classes. There was one Groupon code that saved me $100 off a personal training course I was interested in. I jumped right in so I’d be ready when it was time to take off for Belize. What happened next took me by surprise. I attended a community event that simulated life in developing countries, a sort of passion for compassion experience where a facility was set up and featured an interactive experience, giving visitors a behind the curtains peek at what life is like for some of the people like those we’d be visiting soon. I was grateful for the experience because it showed me where I could help by apply the training I’d learned in my ACE courses. I realized it was not in the villages of Belize, but right here at home. I contacted the young lady and started working with her. In six weeks, she was more energetic, smiling and working very hard to stick to her new fitness routine.