Vanessa Scarani travels up and down the Jersey Shore to teach Zumba, the part-dance, part-aerobics classes that she loves.
The 31-year-old lives in Avalon and lost her dock in Hurricane Sandy. She still doesn’t have a working stove at home. Much of the wiring under the house was ruined, she said, along with several appliances.
But she’s taking the time to help organize a Zumbathon set for Saturday at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, where she teaches Zumba twice a week, to raise money for Atlantic City families affected by Sandy.
The Stockton College Wellness Center is providing the gym, and Channel Marine Construction in Clermont, Dennis Township, donated the stage and DJ, Scarani said. She has at least 11 Zumba instructors lined up to lead that day, she said.
Cinthya Llerena, who founded Atlantic City Teachers United in the first hours after Hurricane Sandy struck, asked her to host a Zumbathon.
“They’ve been working every day collecting donations, food, blankets — everything for the families affected,” Scarani said of Teachers United, a volunteer group focused on helping Atlantic City students and their families.
“We put it together at the last minute. We wanted to do it before the semester is over and the school is full,” Scarani said.
Llerena, 33, the Atlantic City district preschool coach, said this is Atlantic City Teachers United’s first fundraiser.
“We still have a high number of children displaced at this moment,” Llerena said. “The main needs right now are providing people with cleaning supplies. They are fighting with mold in their homes, and some of the families don’t have heat yet.”
So donations of winter coats, socks and blankets are also important.
“A lot of parents come to us to ask for socks (and warm clothes). That’s how they put the kids to bed.”
Llerena lives in Galloway Township and has three children, ages 5, 8 and 10, she said.
Scarani and Llerena hope to fill the gym with hundreds of participants in the Zumbathon, from the Stockton community and the wider area.
“I have 75 to 100 in my class Monday nights,” Scarani said. “They are all really excited. Hopefully they all come.”
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