Jack Normoyle collects donations for local food pantry.

June 29, 2015 by karen

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

Junior Club Fit member Jack Normoyle forgoes birthday gifts  to collect donations for local food pantry.

Jack Normoyle supports local food pantry
Jack and his mom, Suzanne, at Club Fit.

Ask any kid what their favorite thing about birthdays is, and the answer will invariably be, “Presents!” Number two on the list is probably parties. Nine-year-old Club Fit Jefferson Valley member Jack Normoyle decided to change things up, skipping the presents and using his party as a vehicle to help the needy.

Jack, who will be going into the fourth grade at Lincoln-Titus Elementary School, held his Minecraft-themed birthday party at the club in May, opting for the Surf & Turf package for his friends. But instead of sitting back and collecting presents from the partygoers, he asked them to bring a nonperishable food donation for the Church of the Holy Spirit Food Pantry in Cortlandt Manor, part of the Food Bank of Westchester. And this isn’t the first time he’s done this. He did the same at his 7th birthday party.

“Jack saw a Facebook post from one of my friends mentioning the idea, and decided he wanted to help people out by doing the same,” says Jack’s mom, Suzanne. “The work that the food pantry does makes a difference in our community, and Jack has seen for himself that what he is doing matters.” The Holy Spirit Food Pantry services approximately 160 families, helping to feed about 600 people.

“I was surprised to see how much food people brought!” says Jack. “It made me happy to help out the people who really needed it.” Suzanne and Jack delivered the food a few days later, and the staff was understandably appreciative, as well as impressed by Jack’s generosity. “The ladies at the pantry definitely make a fuss over Jack!” says Suzanne. As they should!

The Normoyle family, residents of Cortlandt Manor, joined Club Fit just this past March, but have quickly become regulars. Suzanne comes to the club about three days a week, and is working with a Personal Trainer to get her fitness routine back on track. She uses the Fitness Center and Women’s Fitness Area, and husband John is working on getting more time in around his work schedule.

Jack is definitely getting his time in, doing the Junior Cycle kids’ cycle class on Mondays, and the Yoga for Kids class on Wednesdays. “It used to be all girls, but more boys are doing it now,” he says. He also enjoys the Energy Center, where he’s made some new friends, and is looking forward to attending Energy Camp this summer. “I don’t really have a favorite thing, I just like that there are a lot of different things to do here,” he says. He also enjoys basketball, soccer and karate.

We could all take a lesson from this fourth-grader, whose willingness to help is benefitting so many of the neighbors we often forget about. Hopefully other young people in our community will get wind of Jack’s act of kindness and follow his lead! For more information on the programs run by the Food Bank of Westchester and how to contribute, visit www.foodbankforwestchester.org. And if you run into Jack, give him a well-deserved pat on the back!

Club Fit Membership Rep and “World Racer” Jenny Muller

April 28, 2014 by karen

Club Fit Rep Jenny Muller
Club Fit Membership Rep Jenny Muller is preparing to participate in The World Race for charity.

“Race” can mean a number of things, whether you are rushing to get to the grocery store or competing against elite runners on the world stage. For Club Fit Briarcliff Sales Representative Jen Muller, “race” is going to mean a life-changing experience, as she prepares to participate in The World Race, a journey into eleven countries in eleven months to serve the underprivileged. Participants such as Jen experience an adventure where they abandon worldly possessions and a traditional lifestyle in exchange for a true understanding that it’s not about them, it’s about helping those in need.

Jen first found out about The World Race when her older brother entered the program, after searching online for missionary opportunities, something he had been interested in pursuing. As a professional poker player, he had the flexibility to take the year off − not so for Jen. But when she heard how rewarding his experience had been, she decided to take the plunge, which includes a year-long break from life in Ossining , NY, and her job at Club Fit.

The actual trip begins in September, after an intensive training session in July, where the participants are exposed to the conditions in each country they will visit. According to Jen, “Each day of training will mimic everything that can happen in a particular month in a particular location.” The itinerary currently has her beginning in Thailand, then going to Cambodia, Vietnam, Botswana, Swaziland, South Africa, Turkey, Albania, the Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. The three she’s looking forward to the most? Thailand (“So beautiful!”), Albania (“It’s where Mother Teresa is from.”) and South Africa (“Who wouldn’t want to go on safari?!”).

But the trip is about so much more than seeing the world for twenty-six-year-old Jen. “I felt it was like a calling from God to serve the poor,” she says. “I wanted to get out of the Westchester ‘bubble’ and open my eyes to the rest of the world, which is made up of so many people who don’t have as much as we do here.” Jen will be part of a “squad” of approximately 60 people from all over the country (interestingly enough, there is a participant in her group from Mahopac!) who are broken down into teams of 8 to 10 in each location. Each team is given a specific area to focus on, which can include working with orphans, building and repairing houses, and helping victims of human trafficking. Jen is most looking forward to working with the kids. “I love kids, and you can learn so much from them!”

The main thing the teams are taught is, “Expect the unexpected!” Participants are matched up with host families at each location, usually religious leaders in the community, but living conditions vary from location to location. You can sleep in a bed, in a tent, on the floor; participants have to be prepared for anything. They travel with only a hiking backpack, and are only able to bring the bare essentials, which hopefully will include space for a tent.

As you can imagine, when asked what she will miss the most, Jen says, “A shower and a bed!” She will also miss her co-workers at Club Fit, as well as the members she has gotten to know so well since beginning in Reception four years ago. But she hopes to be back! “Everyone at Club Fit has been so supportive!”

As far as funding the trip, Jen saved her money and is paying her own way, but, like most participants, she is doing some fundraising to help cover the cost. Before she leaves at the end of June, she and Personal Trainer Jess Manfro plan to hold a special CFX class event – we’ll keep you posted! – and donations can be made directly to Jen or to the organization in general at www.theworldrace.org.

But before donating, Jen encourages everyone to check out the rest of the web site, including the blogs posted by participants. Jen already has her own blog (jennymuller.theworldrace.org), and she invites you to follow her progress as she moves through her journey. “When you have a better understanding of the difference this organization can make in the lives of so many people, it makes it so much easier to give, even participate,” she says.

Motivation from the Heart: Club Fit members take to the trails at Rockefeller for Sandy Hook Memorial Virtual 5K

February 7, 2013 by Liz


It’s not always about doing something good for ourselves. In fact, the most inspiring stories are often born of the things we do out of the goodness of our hearts, our wanting to make a difference and the depths of compassion we embrace. That’s why We want to share this story with you. Not just because these women we’re about to tell you about are Club Fit members, but because they are exceptional individuals that are trying to make a difference in whatever way that they can.

Martha Klein and her fellow teammates; Laureen Fitzgerald, Sharon Edmonds, Kathleen Crowley, Janet Hartman, Mary Oliver, Gerry Mattia, Caroline Curvan, Kim Carrafiello and Ann Zimmerman all took to the trails at Rockefeller State Park on January 27. Why? To run a Virtual 5K of which all the proceeds went to the United Way for the victims of the recent and tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Martha was originally contacted by a group from Tampa, FL. The group was promoting a virtual 5K/Half Marathon fundraiser for the victims of Newtown. The event was nationwide with over 10,000 participants and it didn’t take long for Martha and this team of extraordinary women to get on board!

Martha had a lot to say about her experience but a few things struck to the heart of the matter right away: “I knew without missing a beat that this was something that would resonate with all of us. We run all the time, not always together but always there for each other . . . And now we could share it. With those who have lost so much and lives are changed forever. How could we not?” Martha went on to say, “Personally I felt incredibly lucky that I was able to do something. Anything. Every time I run Rockefeller now I will always take a moment to be thankful that my children are safe. And hope that the families in Newtown find peace.”

Janet Hartman said “My experience with this run also made me feel so good being able to do something for the families who lost a child or loved one on that tragic day in Sandy Hook. In addition, after our run I bumped into a few other running friends in a Starbucks. They asked me about my bib – and with teared up eyes – touched it and said, “I’m going to get a group of friends together to register and run in their memory as well.” It is certainly evident that the goodness we put forward can spread when we are willing to support a cause we care so much about. Simply, these ladies inspire others to pay it forward.

Laureen Fitzgerald, an avid runner who is also in part responsible for putting together the annual Rockwood Ramble, said “It was a way for us to honor the victims of this tragedy and reflect upon their memory.”

Knowing that there are ladies like this right next to us should certainly give us a little nudge to use what we have in order to do something good. Whether it is one small act of kindness or a huge collaborative effort, it begins with the thought. We will all take something positive away from their experience. A sincere “thank you” to all of you compassionate ladies for sharing your experience with our community.

For more information on the virtual 5K/Marathon, visit the
Sandy Hook Memorial Half Marathon and 5K Facebook page
If you wish to make a donation please click here: Our Hearts With Sandy Hook

Want to start training for a 5K but need a little help? Contact sreiner@clubfit.com for more information on Club Fit’s Couch to 5K program. Maybe you’ll even see Laureen at the Rockwood Ramble this year! Who will you run for?
Remember, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Lao Tzu