Business owner organizes fundraisers to bring community members together

One of the benefit groups organized by Erin Jennings. (Photo courtesy of Erin Jennings)

AMSTERDAM — The owner and instructor of Tribe Fitness, Erin Jennings, is helpful in more ways than one.

Since Jennings opened the Tribe Fitness studio in August 2016, she has been a fitness instructor, has held fundraisers and ran in 5Ks for various causes.

“At least once a month I try to do a fundraiser or try to take part in a local race,” Jennings said.

Members of Tribe Fitness also participate in these fundraisers and run in the 5K benefits.

Jennings said she really wants to get the fundraising out there to more than just members of the gym.

“I really want to get the community to come to the fundraisers, even if they aren’t a member of the gym,” Jennings said.

Some of the fundraisers and 5K runs Jennings and Tribe Fitness members have hosted or participated in include raising money for a family in Amsterdam who lost their home in a fire, collected toys and clothing for Holiday Families, a Thanks4giving 5K to benefit Dr. Tom Catena’s work in Africa and the NYS Children’s Foundation 5K. Catena is a Catholic missionary from Amsterdam who has been the only doctor permanently based in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains, which has a population of more than half a million people.

Jennings and friends have also run the Silks and Satin 5K in Saratoga to benefit Special Olympics and Amsterdam’s Cops and Joggers 5K.

“It’s helping out the community, it’s really important to me,” Jennings said. “It’s the main reason for opening the gym.”

Jennings has done a couple ovarian cancer events as well. She held an ovarian cancer fundraiser, raising more than $1,000 and ran in the 16th annual Teal Ribbon Run to benefit ovarian cancer research.

Kelly Quist-Demars, a member of the Tribe Fitness Studio, is an ovarian cancer survivor. She’s participted in many of the ovarian cancer fundraisers and 5K runs to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer. She said ovarian cancer symptoms are similar to symptoms of a women’s menstral cycle or stomach problems, so a lot of women go undiagnosed.

“To bring ovarian cancer awareness to the forefront is really important to me,” Quist-Demars said.

Jennings just hosted a Zumbathon with fitness instructor Sandy Torres Rodriguez on Saturday to collect supplies to send to Puerto Rico.

Jennings said they asked for cash donations, or participants could donate items like batteries, flashlights, mosquito repellent, baby wipes, hand sanitizer and other items.

There will also be a garage sale on Friday and Saturday at Tribe Fitness from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to benefit breast cancer research and awareness.

Jennings and members will be selling clothing, sneakers, baby stuff and more. All proceeds will go to local breast cancer research and awareness.

Next month, there will be a Glow Party Workout on Nov. 17 to collect for Toys for Tots.

To enter, participants must bring one unwrapped toy to donate.

Jennings said she would like to fill as many boxes of toys as she can.

Jennings offers a large variety of classes at the Tribe Fitness studio.

“She makes fitness fun, not a chore,” said Laura Szczepanik, a Tribe Fitness member.

Members of the Tribe Fitness studio had only positive words to say about the gym and Jennings.

“Erin really wants to empower other women and support other women,” Szczepanik said. “We have become a huge tribe family.”

“I think the big part about Tribe Fitness is a strong group of women coming together,” Quist-Demars said. “It’s really good to be a part of a community like that, it’s really rare.”