Volunteering for an Unconventional Community Asset
September 8, 2015

When I first started thinking about my volunteer hours for this internship, I struggled with finding what I would do. While service was always an important part of my academic career, since I’ve been out of school I haven’t been directly involved with a volunteer organization. I spent a lot of time checking out the Volunteer Center of Lubbock website (www.volunteerlubbock.org). That site is a great resource for organizations in Lubbock who need volunteers as well as individuals or groups looking for ways to help. There were several options, but I had a hard time finding something that would fit my skills, interests, and most limiting – time availability.

But then it dawned on me before I got truly exasperated, I already had been volunteering weekly, at a place that fit all of my requirements! It took me a while to realize that volunteering is in fact what I’d been doing because one, I enjoyed it so much that it hardly seemed like service at all, and two, it’s not exactly a conventional volunteer opportunity.

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I’m there working hard in the black shirt during the Boot Camp fitness class that I sometimes teach.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been assisting teaching as well as leading dance/fitness classes at ArtFit (www.artfitlubbock.com), a dance and martial arts studio in Lubbock. The studio is owned and run by a husband, wife, and daughter who are the sole instructors across 29 classes during the week, not counting private lessons. I’ve been going to ArtFit for over a year now, and when I was asked to teach the occasional class when the family needed a break, I was delighted! I truly admire the tenacity of small business owners, and I’m glad to provide a means for them to avoid burning out. I also firmly believe that ArtFit is a valuable community asset, though it is off the beaten path. In the time I have been attending classes there, I have seen so many women (including myself) begin with very little physical strength or bodily confidence gain power, pride in their strength, and trust in their bodies’ abilities. It’s a community built on tough love from the instructors and support from the class attendees, one that I’m so happy to transmit when I’m the one teaching. There are other dance studios in Lubbock, but I haven’t found one that offers the eclectic classes and focuses on building strength and confidence in adults like ArtFit does. The skills and atmosphere offered by this small family-run studio aren’t something that can be found in the big national gym chains. That’s why I’ve been so happy to help out, and I look forward to more opportunities to give back to this small but powerful community asset.

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Women of all shapes, sizes, and abilities are welcome at ArtFit, which is one reason I’m so proud to be a part of its community!