Fitness Center Open House

Award Amount: $145.00
Volunteer(s): Susan Doyle
Locations(s): Markaz Shabat Al Qadisiyah, Tefila
Dates(s): November 2011-December 2011
Participants: 30 females, ages 18-50

The purpose of the Markaz Shabat Al Qadisiyah workout room project was to purchase various items to enhance my women’s aerobics classes. This summer the Markaz Shabat Al Qadisiyah was lucky enough to receive 3 exercise machines and other equipment from the Higher Council for Youth, and with this equipment and floor mats acquired from a fellow volunteer’s Character Development Martial Arts camp I have turned one of the rooms in the center into a small gym. After the arrival of this equipment the women’s aerobics classes that I had been trying to get going since last spring have taken off.  Since the beginning of September I have had 3 classes a week that are regularly attended by at least 10 (usually 12-16) women; and upon their request, we added 4th class per week in October.


With the funds received from the Friends of Jordan Small Project Grant I purchased the following items for the gym and aerobics class:  a rug, a wall clock, clothing hooks, a stopwatch to time excercises and stretching during aerobics class, and a scale to track the women’s progress in their main goal of losing weight.  I also purchased 3 sets of crayons, 5 coloring books, and a small set of Legos for the women’s children to play with during aerobics class as many of them must bring their small children with them in order to attend.


The scale has by far been the most popular item purchased by grant funds, as I have made goal charts to mark the women’s weight loss goals and progress.  We display the charts on the gym wall and weigh the women each week to track their progress.  The most useful purchase for me has been the stopwatch, as it has greatly assisted me in leading the aerobics classes. The children love the coloring books and crayons ,as many of them don’t have access to art materials at home.  Having the children occupied has made the aerobics class run much smoother as the women don’t have to worry about what their children are doing.


Because I was able to purchase some of the items cheaper than anticipated,  I had just about 20 JD of grant money left over after I purchased all the requested items.  I discussed the extra money with the women in the aerobics class and we decided to use it to fund a small day trip to the nearby Dana Nature Reserve.  On December, 6 2011, ten women and I rented a small bus for 20 JD to take us to Dana village, about 5 miles away.  When we got there we hiked on a relatively easy trail for about an hour and a half, stopped at a clearing and had a picnic lunch, hiked back to the village, had tea at the Dana Cooperative Hotel, and finally hiked to a nearby spring where we had an afternoon snack before the bus picked us up.  Each woman contributed to the trip by bringing an item for lunch and the snack.


In the future I would like to bring in a nutritionist from the local hospital to give the women a lecture on nutrition and healthy eating habits, as I heard many of them talk of unhealthy “crash” diets.  The women regularly ask me for more varied exercises for the class, so I am also looking into having a yoga teacher come in for a day-long workshop on yoga.  I am currently working to recruit potential volunteers from Amman area yoga studios.  In the long term I would like to put together a short manual on how to institute an aeorbics program and have it translated into Arabic so that the women can self-lead the aerobics class when I am gone.  I also hope to distribute this manual to the women who have approached me wanting to start an aerobics regimen but cannot attend class for various reasons.  Hopefully by this time next year I will have an independently functioning aerobics program that will sustain itself after my departure from Jordan.


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