When the Covid lockdown hit the Youth Shelter of Westchester, figuring out how to get the residents some exercise became a priority. “We were locked in this house and realized that if we didn’t get these guys out to burn off some steam, we were all going to go crazy,” explains Youth Shelter of Westchester Executive Director Joanne Dunn.
Then she had an idea. If she cleared out a storage garage, she could create a new space for the residents.
“When the room became available, and I saw that we could create life within the building, the idea just flashed that we could turn the space not only into a social space, but we could turn it into a fitness center,” Danny Bernstein, Executive Director for Backyard Sports Cares, remembers.
And that’s when the Backyard Sports team sprang into action. BYSC contacted Leo Lopes, owner of Total Form Fitness, who reached out to some of his clients about extra fitness equipment. The calls started rolling in from generous Westchester residents who wanted to donate exercise bikes, ellipticals, treadmills and weight benches. A truck was rented, Steve Tseckares, BYSC COO, and Dillon Faulkner, BYSC Associate Director, grabbed their moving outfits and soon the storage garage was filled up with all sorts of fitness equipment.
BYSC Board Member Zach Sawyer served as an advisor on the project helping us with everything from ordering flooring and barbell racks to the placement of the equipment in the space. Zach has also graciously agreed to volunteer his time to lead a series of fitness classes for the young residents at the shelter.