I arrived at a dojo in Springville, Utah not knowing fully what to expect. I quietly take a seat at the back of a room filled with women of all shapes and sizes, all dawning workout clothes. The music begins blaring, a samba, and a woman at the front of the class leads the girls through several dances. Song after high-energy song plays over the speakers and the girls keep up, dancing to each one in unison. All of them laughing, moving, and joking with one another. This is “Motiv8.”
Motiv8 is a non-profit program for young women which promotes confidence and high self-esteem through hiphop, yoga, and zumba. The classes are offered free of charge and all women ages 12-20 are invited. Although, they seem less like class and more like a group of friends doing something they all love to do. There are about 40 girls in class this afternoon, all mingling and enjoying the music. I hear lots of laughter, not the self-conscious type you are used to hearing in a fitness class, but laughter of teens having a good time.
Motiv8 has 3 main rules: Leave the drama at the door
Everyone dances on the floor
Keep all comments positive
The girls all follow the rules and keep a light, enjoyable atmosphere for everyone.
I caught up with Farrah Kaisa, the organizer and head instructor of Motiv8, after class for a chat about the program.
Farrah Kaisa, Organizer/Head instructor of Motiv8
Farrah let me know that Motiv8 is less about fitness and more about boosting confidence and creating a sense of belonging for the young women of the community. The instructors know every girl by name and spend time with each one individually while in class.
Motiv8 currently holds classes in Springville, Utah, and recently opened a branch in Salt Lake City. From there, Farrah is hoping to spread the organization throughout the rest of Utah and into neighboring states. They have my full support. As a man in my mid 20’s who is very active in my community, I can see the need for a program like Motiv8 for young women who are struggling to define who they are.
Farrah further explained that there is a huge need for this program because it offers the girls a reprieve from the world which seems to be constantly telling them they aren’t good enough the way they are. This is the age group where women really seem to have it tough. Many develop body and image issues which they continue to struggle with for the rest of their lives. Through Motiv8, Farrah hopes to help women accept themselves and those around them, how ever they are.
Others on the Motiv8 staff agree, telling me that their favorite part of volunteering is when they see the girls break the molds that they have put themselves in and forget their insecurities, even if only for a little while. Staff began telling me about a few of their favorite success stories and end up reminiscing with each other about all the girls that they work with through Motiv8. As I sat, listening to the improvements that the young women have made, I noticed that all staff members were smiling and laughing. All staff is completely voluntary, with no compensation for any position, which only cements what I had already seen in class, these instructors genuinely love Motiv8 and the girls they teach.
I believe Farrah herself candidly said it best, “Motiv8 encompasses everything good for (the girls) and gives them a place to belong.” That’s really what every young lady in her teens needs, right?
Contact Motiv8: facebook.com/motiv8-youth