Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Little Gym Announces Its Big Hearts, Little Shoes Charity Campaign

Last week Nia and I were invited to attend an open house at the UWS location of The Little Gym. We had visited the Harlem location when we lived there and Nia loved it so when I saw this opportunity I knew we had to go! (For those of you in Harlem, CEO Bob Bingham informed me another Harlem location will be opening again!)

The Little Gym's approach to "serious fun" is perfect for Nia because she already likes to flip, bounce and climb all over our apartment so she was thrilled to have an open space to unleash her inner-gymnast. There were children of all ages at the event including infants and with classes for ages 4 months to 12 years it's easy to find a class for your child!

Here's a video of Nia in action:

Nia warmed right up to the staff and worked her way fearlessly through the equipment. I really appreciated that The Little Gym emphasized their non-competitive approach - each child is encouraged to simply try the tasks to the best of his or her ability! 

This day was especially exciting for The Little Gym as they were kicking off their "Big Hearts, Little Shoes" campaign. Through a partnership with Soles4Souls they are collecting used  or outgrown shoes to be donated around the world to children who would otherwise go barefoot.

The following video they shared with us was a great way for the children to understand the importance of the donation program and how they can play a role in impacting the world:

The collection containers are easily recognizable and while more than 99% of the shoes are used to help those in need, the remaining that cannot be used are directed to a waste-to-energy facility where they are used to produce environmentally clean and renewable energy. I think this is wonderful as it works seamlessly with The Little Gym's practice of removing shoes before each session - it's a fun way to get children involved with giving back at an early age. Additionally, with the rate at which Lil Love Bird's feet are growing I know that this will be a popular cause in our household!

The Little Gym CEO Bob Bingham and Soles4Souls Chief Development Officer Keith Woodley

The children ended the afternoon with nutritious snacks (I learned our Lil Love Bird is a huge fan of dried apricots!) and then a few more rounds of play.
{All images are courtesy of Diane Bondareff Photography}
Thank you to The Little Gym for such an enjoyable afternoon and please visit their website to find a location for donation drop-off near you as well as to sign up for a free trial class. 

You can find The Little Gym on Facebook and follow them on Twitter: @TheLittle Gym.

Disclosure: As a member of Mom Central I received a free session at the Little Gym for my daughter as well as monetary compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.