By Diamond Richardson
Buckner InternationalDALLAS – Marsha Taplett leans in on a hot June day as a room filled with young girl eyes lock with hers. “Can everyone say portion control?” she says.
“Portion control!” The girls respond eagerly.
Taplett is sitting in the middle of the room at Buckner’s Hillburn Hills Resource Center where she leads a conversation about eating a rainbow of colors, drinking water and fun ways to exercise. The girls are engaged and asking questions. This is the kind of response Taplett enjoys.
“I started volunteering because I wanted to touch the lives of children and make some kind of difference in their lives,” Taplett said.
Taplett typically spends her days managing the fitness staff, developing exercise programs and providing personal training for clients at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel where she serves as Fitness Manager.
But she started hosting nutrition and fitness sessions at Buckner International’s Dallas community centers in March.
“The response is always positive,” said Rocio Lopez, community relations coordinator for Buckner. “Everyone loves Marsha and we really appreciate the time she invests in the communities that Buckner serves.”
Taplett has spent more 25 years in the fitness industry and is happy with her job, but last year Marsha began to feel an old desire tugging at her heart.
“I found out about the Buckner orphan location when I was a kid,” Taplett said. “The place never left my spirit, so after I finished seminary in 2003, I made a commitment that I would one day volunteer. I felt it was part of my purpose. I wanted to touch the lives of children.”
Taplett reached out to Buckner and with the help of Lopez, the nutrition and fitness classes were developed for Buckner community centers.
“Marsha wanted to serve others through her gifts and talents,” Lopez said. “After we talked and she shared her passion to serve others through fitness and nutrition education, I quickly saw she would be a great fit for our Buckner community centers. Her love for people and motivation to start made the partnership a very organic process.”
Sessions are held for young women, senior citizens, single moms, children and teens. Taplett discusses ways to make meals healthier, easy ways to become more active, breathing exercises and the importance of sleep.
Taplett said she tailors the sessions to fit the different age groups. She enjoys working with all groups but said there is a special place in her heart for encouraging children to live a healthy lifestyle.
“I know that if we can reach children early enough we can help prevent disease, reduce childhood obesity and add to the quality of their lives.”
Taplett is transforming eating habits. She is transforming bodies. For her, however, the most important transformation is internal.
“The better you feel about yourself, the happier you are. Being healthy and feeling good will improve confidence, improve quality of life. Improving lives is what Buckner is all about.”
To find out more about the ways you can volunteer with Buckner, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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