Dancing to end domestic violence

Memorial Auditorium in downtown Burlington was full of Zumba on Saturday.

The sixth annual Zumbathon, was held to benefit the local nonprofit Women Helping Battered Women.

This nonprofit is the largest service provider for domestic abuse in Vermont, according to its website.

Participants, including many students, said they enjoyed taking part in this event and raising awareness for the cause.

ÒI have always loved to participate in this annual event, junior Sarah Richardson said.

ÒIt is extremely powerful and beautiful to see so many people come together to support this cause,Ó Richardson said.

ÒThe energy and love that fills the room is unbelievable,Ó she said.

Even though this event took place downtown, the enthusiasm extended to the UVM campus.

UVM organizations such as the Kappa Sigma fraternity volunteered their time to help the event run smoothly.

Diana Matot, Champlain College employee and member of the Zumbathon Facebook page, commented on a picture of the Kappa Sigma brothers, ÒThese guys were great!Ó

This was the third year that senior Catherine Manning participated in the event.

However she said that it was the first year that she lead dances on stage, along with other group members.

Manning is a Zumba instructor at the YMCA in Winooski, Vt.

Following the event on Saturday she requested the playlist from the performances to use in her own classes.

ÒThis event was so amazing,Ó she said. ÒYou literally could feel the love in the air, it was infectious.Ó

This year, the Zumbathon had 400 participants and raised more than $36,000.

ÒJust to understand that I was making a difference and raising money for Women Helping Battered Women made it so much more worthwhile,Ó Manning said.

The eventÕs cause was promoted through social media with the hashtag #WHBWgroove.

The event took place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and admission was $35 at the door.

ÒKnowing that I am directly affecting those in need gives me so much joy,Ó Manning said.

In addition to this fun and spirited event, the Women Helping Battered Women organization also hosts a variety of programs, such as support groups and trasitional housing.

There are also many other ways to donate and get involved.

Visit their website for a list of volunteer training and a full events and programs calendar.