Four Rye Brook kids teamed up with two village moms who created a boutique fitness studio to raise money to purchase laptops for underprivileged children. From left: Robin Hoberman, Marley Tannenbaum, Gabby Feuerstein, Alex Feuerstein, Chad Minick and Kori Sassower.
Four Rye Brook kids teamed up with two village moms who created a boutique fitness studio to raise money to purchase laptops for underprivileged children. From left: Robin Hoberman, Marley Tannenbaum, Gabby Feuerstein, Alex Feuerstein, Chad Minick and Kori Sassower.
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The correlation between laptops and exercise may not seem evident to most people, but four Rye Brook preteens combined the two for their mitzvah project "Get Fit for Education." About 50 of their fellow Blind Brook students participated in an afternoon of fitness classes at a studio run by two Rye Brook moms.

"We're using the money our friends donated to buy laptops for kids who can't afford to so they can get educated and go to college," said Gabby Feuerstein.

"Basically we're giving to underprivileged kids who don't have all the resources we have so they can learn," added Chad Minick.

The two, along with Gabby's brother Alex and their friend Marley Tannenbaum, coordinated the event and got their friends to show up to the boutique fitness studio Momentum in Purchase.

The idea for the project originated at a wedding Alex and Gabby's parents attended where someone started talking about a school in Harlem that lacks the same resources the Blind Brook students take for granted. For example, except for Minick, the other students all have their own laptops.

"We just have to make sure people are aware that not everyone has the same privileges as us and they shouldn't take that stuff for granted," Minick said.

Once they decided to raise money to purchase laptops, Kori Sassower and Robin Hoberman, who are friends with the children's parents, heard about the idea and volunteered to donate the gym space and the classes. Since the instructors also donated their time, all the money raised went directly towards the 7th graders' initiative. Fundraising and getting fit go together perfectly in Sassower's mind.

"We're always happy to support any cause, " she said. "Kids wanting to help at 13, that's rare, so we want to foster that."

About 50 Blind Brook 7th graders, boys and girls, attended the special "Get Fit for Education" spin class or boot class on June 17, right before the school year ended.

"The kids' energy was great today," Hoberman said.

With the money raised, about $2,000, the four plan to purchase and then donate the laptops to public schools in Harlem in the fall.

"We're going to buy the least expensive, but still useful, so we can buy as many as possible," said Alex Feuerstein. "We want to show people that we can make a difference."

"Even if it's three or five laptops, it's still a difference in a child's life we can make," added his sister.

For all four of the organizers, it was their first time participating in a Momentum class and Gabby Feuerstein said she thinks she will start attending the classes because it was more fun that she expected.

Moms team up to get kids exercising

Hoberman and Sassower only started Momentum- with an emphasis on mom-in April. The two friends would take their children with them to the gym, but with nothing to occupy their kids, they just sat and watched while their mothers worked out. They decided to create a boutique fitness studio with classes specifically for children and teenagers.

"We wanted it to be fun, to be engaging for the kids," Hoberman said. "It's not about working out. It's about having fun with fitness added."

Classes offered include cycling, outdoor running, boot camps, kickboxing, trampoline and zumba, all taught by instructors who have worked with children before.

"Sometimes the older people take it too seriously," said Chris Konopka, one of the instructors. "It brings out the kid in me to jump around."

For one hour, children can hang out with their friends and exercise simultaneously, an idea that appeals to 13-year-old Rachel Halpern of Rye Book.

"It's hard but it's fun to challenge ourselves and it feels good after," she said after her first week attending. "It makes us feel good about ourselves."

"It's better than going to the gym because it's organized," added her friend Sam Striar, 14, of Rye Brook. "It's hard to work out when you're this age, but this gives us that opportunity."

While many of the students come from Rye Brook where both Sassower and Hoberman live, Harrison, Purchase, Armonk, Rye and Greenwich also contribute children.

Some classes are co-ed, while others are not since some of the older children are going through the stage where they start to worry what the other gender thinks about them.

"We try to eliminate that and just give them a safe space," Hoberman said.

For more information, visit momentumclassroom.com.