Momentum Wellness, a Ponte Vedra health and fitness studio, held a benefit Saturday, July 22 to support local nonprofit Betty Griffin House.
Attendees of the “Betty Benefit” were treated to a group workout, healthy food samples and nutritional information from Dietitians of Palm Valley and a post-workout meal provided by Big Island Bowls food truck. In the weeks leading up to the event, the fitness studio collected an assortment of goods and supplies for Betty Griffin House.
“The purpose of the event is to host a day of training to bring awareness to the Betty Griffin House of St. John’s County—a local safe shelter for women and children escaping abusive relationships,” said Shelby Panter, a student intern and health specialist at Momentum Wellness.
Panter, who is a rising senior studying exercise science at the University of North Florida, said that the idea for the event originated with one of her degree requirements.
“The requirement we had to do is have some sort of project we do,” she said. “A lot of people would take on a client and train them from beginning to end, but we kind of wanted to go a different route.”
Momentum Wellness owner Marie Merritt thought holding a benefit would be a great alternative.
“I thought it was the perfect senior project for her to graduate college, versus just training a couple of people and writing a paper on it,” said Merritt, whose business is located at 5150 Palm Valley Road. “She actually gets to make an impact on the community.”
Merritt added that she has been wanting to hold a charity event since she opened her business and was glad to finally have the opportunity to do so.
“My goal is to hold one to two events a year to raise money for local charities, and being able to give back to the community is something that’s so important,” she said. “This organization is so important to me because of having people in my life who have been through domestic violence situations, so they were my first choice.”
Based in St. Augustine, Betty Griffin House serves all of St. Johns County and offers various services to help domestic and/or sexual abuse survivors, including a confidential shelter, counseling, support groups, a 24-hour helpline, legal assistance and educational programs.
“I wanted to be able to do something that lines up completely with my philosophy and what we do,” Merritt added. “Our way of giving back is to be able to introduce people to some sort of fitness, so this is our tool. We’re being able to use it; people are coming in and making donations, and hopefully we will be able to make a very big impact.”