Dance for the Rescues


Annual Zumba event in California raises money for local animal rescue organizations.

At first glance, it might be hard to notice any link between Zumba--the dance-based fitness craze--and rescue groups devoted to saving the lives of at-risk animals. Each year, in Monterey, CA, however, hundreds of animal lovers come together to raise money for the Peace of Mind Dog Rescue (POMDR) and Animal Friends Rescue Project (AFRP). Seeking to inspire through dance, these participants earned pledges by Zumba dancing their (figurative) tails off in honor of their four-legged friends in need. The 4th Annual Dance for the Rescues took place on October 13th, and it raised over $40,000.

Dance for the Rescues began in 2010 when founder Polaris Brown saw it as a way to fuse her passion for Zumba with her love of animals. She began to notice a connection between the Zumba community and the animal rescue community, so she organized the inaugural event to raise money for two charities she thought were doing important work. The AFRP is an organization that seeks to help animals that are at-risk in the shelter system. It pulls abused, injured, and elderly animals out of shelters and goes the extra mile to find them permanent homes. POMDR is a nonprofit that helps find new homes for dogs whose elderly guardians are no longer able to care for them.

In the first three years, Dance for the Rescues raised more than $45,000 for these two rescue groups. This October, however, the event blew the previous years out of the water, raising more than $40,000 for the AFRP and POMDR. Hosted by DJ Willi and Zumba instructor Kim Fujii, this year's Dance for the Rescues featured a long list of guest instructors who taught the Latin dance styles familiar to Zumba aficionados, including merengue, salsa, reggaeton, and cumbia.

Participation in the event was free for anyone who wanted to show up and dance the day away. Many dancers raised money by signing up as Animal Ambassadors and collecting pledges from their friends and family. These participants wore bibs to signify that they were dancing in honor of a certain animal in need, and the bib numbers correlated to the animal's identification number.

In addition to dancing, the event featured booths showcasing various animal support and rescue groups. There was also food and pet products for sale, arts and crafts for kids, and health and fitness vendors selling their wares. Dance for the Rescues culminated in a charity raffle and silent auction, both of which helped tip the total earnings over the $40,000 mark.

You can watch a video feature from KSBW News, which highlights this year's event, here:

To learn more about Dance for the Rescues as well as the nonprofit organizations it benefits, visit



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