Es­cap­ing bul­ly­ing through Zumba class

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - TA­MARA THORN

Stand­ing up to bul­lies is one thing, but do­ing it as a com­mu­nity while wear­ing pink is another. That is ex­actly what hap­pens at a Zumba class in Toko­roa.

Ev­ery year on May 26, peo­ple all around the world cel­e­brate Pink Shirt Day and stand to­gether to take ac­tion against bul­ly­ing.

Bul­ly­ing is some­thing De­siree Short­land feels strongly about all year around though, and is the rea­son be­hind cre­at­ing a new Zumba class.

Short­land has cre­ated a Zumba class for peo­ple to at­tend weekly as a way to es­cape or deal with bul­ly­ing.

‘‘Its not just about the ex­er­cise or dance side of it,’’ she said.

‘‘Its about let­ting go and feel­ing safe.’’

Short­land said Zumba is de­signed as an es­cape. It pro­vides a non judg­men­tal en­vi­ron­ment and it is pro­moted as ‘‘a pos­i­tive and happy place.’’

Ev­ery Wed­nes­day at 6pm Short­land is joined by a class of 15 to 20 peo­ple.

She said it was so fun ‘‘you for­get you are ex­er­cis­ing.’’

For Short­land, Zumba has been a life chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence; from be­ing the shy newby in the back of the class, to be­ing on stage and teach­ing.

‘‘It’s hard to be shy with Zumba.

‘‘You never know what’s go­ing to hap­pen in the class.’’

She said that you never know whose life you are go­ing to change by tak­ing th­ese classes.

Short­land used to suf­fer from back prob­lems and had a hard time mov­ing, but with the Zumba pro­gramme she has changed her life for the bet­ter, and now wishes to help oth­ers.

Short­land trav­els from Hamil­ton ev­ery Wed­nes­day to teach her classes at the Toko­roa Event Cen­tre be­tween 6pm-7pm. She said as long as she has the de­mand, her classes will con­tinue.

She said she looks for­ward to Wed­nes­days, not just be­cause of Zumba classes, but to en­joy the Toko­roa com­mu­nity.

‘‘I want to keep go­ing as long as my body al­lows me to.’’

This Wed­nes­day she wants ev­ery­one to dress up in pink, to stand up to the bul­ly­ing that hap­pens ev­ery­where world wide.

She said Pink Shirt day is open to the whole com­mu­nity to take part and help spread aware­ness.

Ev­ery Wed­nes­day a do­na­tion of $5 is col­lected to go to­wards the Zumba classes

SUP­PLIED

De­siree Short­land and her Hamil­ton Zumba class

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