The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

October 14, 2012

Zumba event to raise funds for community

— Two Limestone County organizations, both created to help families in need, are planning a community Zumba Party to raise funds.

Athens-Limestone County Family Resource Center and the Miles Blackwell Foundation are teaming up for the event, which will take place from 10-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Athens City Recreation Center.

Both are nonprofit, donor-supported organizations dedicated to improving life for families in the community.

The Miles Blackwell Foundation is a new organization, created by the parents of Miles Blackwell, Derrick and Rosalyn Blackwell, and his sister, Myia. The Blackwells said they created the Foundation as a way to reach out to the community and embrace the spirit of their beloved son, an Athens High School student and track standout who was killed in a car accident last December.

“Our son had a genuine compassion for helping people and especially children,” Rosalyn and Derrick said. “Our promise to Miles as we said our earthly goodbye was that we would continue to sponsor his passion in life.”  They said Miles’ life was an example of the power of kindness. The Foundation’s goal is for that power to expand in order to help families in need to help themselves by providing education, legal services and parenting classes.

“Initially I started the Foundation because I wanted to take Miles’ college fund and distribute it into the community,” Rosalyn said. “So I pulled together people who I thought could help me do that.” She added she also wanted to decide what would be a worthy cause to distribute the fund toward.

The Miles Blackwell Foundation is two-fold.  There is 4Miles Kindness Scholarship fund for Athens High School students, which will include 13 students this year who create a positive environment at their school. There is also the 4Miles Kindness Donation, which will not only help families help themselves, but also start a feeding program.

The Foundation hopes to help families who might not be able to get government help, but who might need a little help to get through.

Rosalyn said the only thing they ask for in return is for those families to pay it forward by taking the time during the year to complete an act of kindness for someone else and to pass a card to them provided by the Foundation. They then ask that those receiving the card continue to pass the kindness and the card forward.

“The donation equals the donation that I used to put in his college fund every month,” Rosalyn said. She added that as members of the organization started to look at the things they would like to do through the foundation, they realized that it is not something that should end when Miles’ college fund ends. “That’s when we started to do fundraising events,” Rosalyn said. “And because we essentially do the same work as the Family Resource Center, we joined forces with them to raise funds.”

The Zumba Party, sponsored by Athens City Recreation Department, cost $10. Proceeds will be split between the Miles Blackwell Foundation and The Family Resource Center.

Rosalyn said they chose a Zumba Party because they wanted to bring the young and old together for an event that was not sad and more of a celebration. “Miles was a very happy person,” she said. Derrick agreed and added Miles would have had a lot of fun at the event. 

Sarah Chadwell, executive director of Athens-Limestone Family Resource Center said teaming up with the Miles Davis Foundation “just makes sense.”

“Their heart is with families and children and they have expressed an interest to be involved in Limestone County so we are thrilled,” she said. “This is really a new partnership, but they have already helped us with a number of projects.”

The Zumba Party is their first big fundraising event as a team.

“It’s going to be great fun,” Sarah said. “The trainer is awesome, so you’ll get the best teacher, and the event is a great way to help families.”

To find out more, visit http://www.4mileskindness.com or http://www.athensfamilyresourcecenter.com.

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