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At Y2Y’s Zumbathon, Dancing Students Raise Money for Youth Homeless Shelter

By Charles Levene and Andrew J. Zucker, Contributing Writers

Braving dreary weather, dozens of students gathered Saturday beneath a tent in the Science Center Plaza to dance, raise money, and socialize at Zumbathon, a charity event for the local student-run youth homeless shelter Y2Y.

The two-hour event, sponsored by Harvard Common Spaces, is part of Y2Y’s ongoing outreach strategy to spread awareness of youth homelessness. The event raised money through the sale of $10 tickets. All proceeds from the event went to the homeless shelter, according to Samuel G. Greenberg ’14, co-director of Y2Y.

Participants engaged in Zumba, a group activity that fuses dance with fitness. Led by an instructor, participants swayed, jumped, and twirled to music blasting from speakers.

Kelsey Vercammen, a student at the School of Public Health, said she was attracted to the event because of its cause.

“It’s nice to get out here and exercise with a bunch of people,” she added.

Jacqueline D. Modesett ’17, Y2Y’s fundraising director, and Greenberg said they hoped the event would not only raise money for Y2Y, but also help spread awareness for youth homelessness more generally.

“Our objective in going into this program isn’t targeted around a specific number, but instead on community exposure and community involvement,” Modesett said.

Y2Y opened last December and serves young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. The shelter employs a “youth to youth” model to foster a safe environment for the residents, according to its website.

Greenberg said he hoped the event would create buzz about the shelter, which will reopen its doors in less than two weeks after a closed season.

“Hopefully, this Zumbathon event will set an exciting tone as we’re just two weeks away from opening for our second season,” he said.

This year, after doubling its season length from three months to six months, Y2Y leadership is hoping to expand on its work after spending the summer reflecting upon its first year operating.

“We’re perpetually reimagining ourselves,” Greenberg said. “In all ways, we benefit and depend upon the community.”

As the second season opening date quickly approaches, Greenberg noted that events like Zumbathon are important ways to attract volunteers for the shelter and spread Y2Y’s message to Harvard and beyond.

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