Organizers expect up to 500 participants at CSUN-funded Rebels Fighting Obesity

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Student-founded nonprofit Jump for Joy is bringing the fight against obesity to UNLV.

The organization is taking over the Student Recreation and Wellness Center for Rebels Fighting Obesity (RFO), a free event that will feature classes and activities for students, parents and children.

“It shows that UNLV cares, that we care about the obesity epidemic,” said Ruben Chavez, a fitness attendant at the SRWC who volunteers with J4J.

It was Chavez’s idea to hold an event at UNLV, where the foundation was created.

“We want to bring it back to where it all began,” Chavez said.

J4J was founded in late 2009 by Anthony Alegrete, a senior business marketing major at UNLV, and Branden Collinsworth, a UNLV alumni who works as a personal trainer.

The foundation’s mission is to fight the obesity epidemic in Southern Nevada. According to the National Center for Disease Control, 31.7 percent of Nevadans were overweight in 2010, and 23.1 percent of Nevadans were considered obese.

“The first time that we did [a J4J event] we ended up only getting three kids that came out,” Alegrete said. “It’s been two years now and we’ve had about 3,000 kids come through the program.”

RFO is an extension of the foundation’s main program, Camp Jump. The camp hold events similar to RFO, such as “Volley Against Obesity” and “Tackling Obesity.” The purpose of these day camps is to make exercise a fun experience for children, so that they will stay fit and health-conscious as they grow older.

The event will be the largest free fitness-promoting event on campus to date, and J4J has estimated there will 300-500 participants.

Some of the activities at RFO will include classes for parents and adults on nutrition and fitness, stress management and positive psychology, as well as boxing, crossfit, and field games for children.

The event will be staffed by volunteers, who are students in on-campus groups and members of the community.

Kevin “KB” Brewer from the Jabbawokeez will be hosting a hip-hop dance class, and Ricardo Laguna from MTV’s “The Ricardo Laguna Project” will help host the event, and has recorded the radio spot that the foundation is using to advertise RFO.

“A lot of these people are friends, or friends of friends,” Alegrete said. “We’re a big community-based organization, so our roots travel deep.”

CSUN provided $4,600 to fund the event after J4J gave a presentation to the senate. The maximum amount that CSUN will give to student organizations for events and programs is $1,500.

“The presentation that we received was probably the most thoughtful and well put-together presentation that I’ve seen in my year at CSUN,” said Mark Ciavola, a liberal arts senator and president-elect of the undergraduate student government. “We’d be hard pressed not to fund it.”

J4J launched an extensive advertising campaign to raise awareness for the event. The organization is using billboards, television and radio spots, 10,000 flyers, email campaigns and word of mouth to raise awareness. On May 2, Hot 97.5 will be in the Free Speech Zone on campus promoting the event.

Alegrete hopes that the event will be held every year, and that eventually J4J will hold events similar to it across the country on other college and university campuses.

The organization recently opened its own community center — The JUMP Center — just this year.

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Contact Alexia Shurmur at alexia.shurmur.ry@gmail.com.