First ‘Zumbathon’ raises funds for Project Help...

First ‘Zumbathon’ raises funds for Project Help

Project Help volunteer coordinator Kerry Boylan, center left, and Holly Hutchinson enjoy a light moment during the Zumbathon fundraiser held Jan. 19 at The Warehouse/Dance Murfreesboro. The two-hour event raised $1,200 for Project Help. (Photo courtesy of Project Help/Christine Green Photography)

About 50 Zumba enthusiasts danced for two hours on a recent Saturday to raise more than $1,200 for MTSU’s Project Help, the university’s inclusive pre-school.

Proceeds from the “Zumbathon” will go directly to Project Help’s Wishing Tree Program, which helps provide needed classroom supplies and materials for Project Help teachers.

The “wishing tree” is actually a wall mural, painted years ago by a Project Help parent as a creative way to communicate teachers’ day-to-day needs. Supporters can pick an “apple” from the tree with a wish for a particular item, such as baby wipes, graham crackers or Play-Doh, and then donate the item — or money for it — for the teacher.

Held on Jan. 19, the Zumbathon drew a lively group of the dance fitness enthusiasts to The Warehouse/Dance Murfreesboro on Middle Tennessee Boulevard for what organizers say will be an annual event.

“Movement is certainly an integral part of the preschool curriculum,” said Susan Waldrop, director of Project Help. “Our preschoolers dance every day. There are some really cool dances that we love, plus they increase and improve body tone.

“The Zumbathon is a nice companion to our daily goals at Project Help. We’re grateful for this fundraiser and thank those who made it happen.”

Community contributors included The Warehouse/Dance Murfreesboro, which donated the studio space for the event; HobNob Murfreesboro; VIP Murfreesboro magazine; the Adams Family Foundation; Christine Green Photography; and Missy Melhorn of Olympus Athletic Club and Michelle Palmer of Michelle’s School of Dance, who organized the Zumba event.

Project Help works with children with developmental delays in an interactive environment, where they learn and play with those who are developing typically. The programs engage children in a variety of fun and exciting educational experiences.

Project Help has served the MTSU and Middle Tennessee communities for nearly 30 years, training more than 300 MTSU students each year through hands-on classroom experiences.

For more information, please contact Kerry Boylan at or 615-898-2458 or visit You can see more photos from the event at Project Help’s Facebook page,

— Jimmy Hart (