I first met Javin when Amber introduced him to our class saying that a “guy” was coming to help her teach.  I was so self-conscious about my body already and didn’t like anyone to notice me at all, let alone, dance in front of anyone.  But dancing in front of a guy??? No way, no how.  I was going to protest when he came (silently because I’m also shy)

When he got there, it wasn’t so bad.  I could tell right away that he had a pleasant calm demeanor about him, and that I was NOT going to be embarrassed to dance “with” him or in front of him. He just had a way of making us all feel comfortable. He was only there to get us a good workout and feel better about ourselves after we left.

So as if that first day of having him there wasn’t enough….he proceeds to introduce himself to all of us and then says, does anyone have a car and is going to the Carother’s area?  I told him where I live and I go right through that street and i would love to give him a ride.

I said, “Why don’t you have a car? How did you get here?”

I realized that he was a little late, and I did happen to see a cop car drive away while I was dancing. (in the back of course, so I could see out the door).

He said, “Well, I was in a wreck before I got here and my car wasn’t driveable. The police officer gave me a ride, and I need to get to my restaurant to get my wife’s car so I can go home.:

hahahaha What??? I was hooked that day.  His story was too crazy not to be friends with him.

We talked the whole way, not even realizing I just let a strange guy who I had never met, that showed up in a cop car because of a wreck, but still managed to give us a kick our butt workout, get in my vehicle. We became instant friends that day.  He was the easiest to talk to and my shy self would have never offered to let a stranger in my car, let alone a guy!!!

I love Javin and Kayla and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have gotten through my separation and divorce as easily.  When he would sing to us during our cool down, I used to cry during stretches upside down since no one could tell- plus I was already sweating and wiping my face.  I told him that once when I finally revealed to him that I was getting a divorce. I had to tell them how much they meant to me, and that I always felt better coming to class.  He was so gentle with his listening and the way he told me about his absent father and that he was sorry that my boys will have to go without their dad.

Kayla is so sweet and funny and is just so passionate about dance and we became instant friends when she started coming.  And their kids!!  The fact that the whole family does this and they love and care for us all as much as we do them….I don’t even think of it as a workout or a class.  It’s just my family.  I come to be with my family when I come.  And we dance, and we laugh, and we hang out, and we eat together….and then we eat together some more….and then again and again!!

I have made the best lifelong friends at a little old zumba class…and to think that my now ex husband gave me a Living Social coupon as a “gift” but now realizing, it was probably his first way of getting me out of the house so I wouldn’t suspect a thing.  So what satan had in mind for evil, God had in mind good.  And this is so good.  ❤

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“I don’t even think of it as a workout or a class- it’s just my family.” – Hope B.

When I stumbled upon Javin’s class at my local gym, I weighed nearly 250 pounds. I had just ended a long marriage, and wanted to finally take control of my health and happiness. I stood in the window and watched for weeks before working up the courage to go inside and join them.

I was very uncomfortable with my body then. I didn’t have any athletic ability, or rhythm, or any prior dance experience at all. But, I loved music, and it just looked like too much fun not to give it a try. I hid in the back row so no one would see me. Javin saw me.

Recognizing that I was new, he introduced himself after class. He thanked me for coming and asked if I enjoyed myself. I told him that I had a hundred pounds to lose. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You’ll do it.” He hugged me, and asked if I would come to another class.

If you’ve ever been morbidly obese, you understand how invisible we can feel in a place like that. Javin saw me. He acknowledged me. He believed in me. I’ve been following him around town dancing with him ever since.

I quickly discovered that this was much more than an exercise class. It’s a community, a family. Javin and Kayla have created this amazing place for us to feel safe and comfortable in our skin. We support each other, learn and grow together, and share success after success as a group.

Gradually, I moved from the back row to right up front. I’ve now lost over seventy pounds. When I started dancing with Javin, I was taking prescriptions for high blood pressure and Type II Diabetes.  I would come to class and dance for an hour, and have to go home and ice my feet. Today, I don’t take any prescription drugs. My blood pressure is normal, and my diabetes is GONE!

In losing the weight, I found my confidence again. Moving my body helped me to reconnect with myself and restore my self-esteem. I have so much more energy now, and my outlook on life in general is much more positive. Taking control of my health has helped me see just how strong I am. I know that I can accomplish anything I desire with small steps every day.

I will always be grateful for Javin and Kayla- I truly believe they have helped save my life. My success is truly theirs, as I could not have done this without their support, encouragement, and friendship.



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“Seventy Pounds and Counting” – Renee B.