Lift-a-Thon to Raise Funds for Doorways


(Tuesday, March 18, 2008 7:15 AM EDT)

Lifting weights has numerous benefits - it builds muscles, boosts metabolism, strengthens bones - and at White Birch, a martial arts school in Arlington, it's also a way to raise money for a worthy cause.

On Saturday, March 29, the school is hosting a charity “lift-a-thon” to benefit Doorways for Women and Families.

The school's students, as well as some other volunteers, will do sets of lifts of Russian kettlebells to total one ton. Each lifter will get friends, co-workers and neighbors to sponsor them at a rate of $5, $10 or $20 a ton.

The person who raises the most sponsorship money will win a straight steel sword with a solid brass scabbard, donated by Tiger Claw Inc.

The kettlebells range in weight from 10 to 70 pounds, and since some of the participants do not use kettlebells regularly, they will get their choice of bell weight for the competition.

“I want to keep it safe, and we want to keep it friendly,” said White Birch school owner Robert LaPointe. “We don't want any ruptured discs!”

Some students who plan on participating in the lift-a-thon have been coming to the school for extra training.

“I've never done kettlebell lifting before,” said Alisa Joaquin. But she wants to do it, she says, “because the lift-a-thon is for a really good cause.”

LaPointe has hosted other charity events at his school, including benefits for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and the D.C. Youth Orchestra, and is hoping to raise as much money as he has in the past, which has always been more than $1,000.

“Doorways helps individuals who can't help themselves,” he said. “I've had my school here in Arlington for 18 years . . . this is a great place. Most communities don't have a facility like the Doorways shelter.”

The money raised will go towards helping families move from Doorways' shelters to their own housing by providing rental subsidies and security deposits.

“We are so appreciative whenever the local business community hosts a third-party fund-raiser to benefit our shelter and housing programs,” said Doorways executive director Linda Dunphy. “These [programs] depend on $1.2 million of private community funds each year to sustain our vital, life-saving programs.”

The lift-a-thon will take place on Saturday, March 29 at 3 p.m. at White Birch, and the public is invited to attend.

For those interested in sponsoring a lifter, call the school at (703) 920-9746.

Arlingtonian Ed Murlow practices lifting kettlebells.
(Photo by Kristen Armstrong)

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