LEARN fitness opens on Merrick Road

Youth-focused wellness center will battle childhood obesity


Business in Baldwin may not yet be booming, but it was at least budding over the weekend as LEARN, a new children’s fitness and nutrition center, opened its doors on Merrick Road, just east of Grand Avenue. A number of local dignitaries were on hand to break the seal on the new center at a ribbon-cutting celebration last Saturday.

Kathleen Lengel, the center’s office manager — and the mother of its owner, Kristie Lengel — described the operation as “a childhood exercise and nutrition facility dedicated to fighting obesity in young people.”

The center’s title stands for Learn, Exercise, Activity and the Right Nutrition, and Kathleen Lengel said it is the first facility of its kind on Long Island. “We see this as a place where kids will come after school to get exercise and learn about eating the right things,” she said, adding that classes will be limited to 12 for the center’s younger charges — ages 7 to 11 — and to 15 for an older group of 12- to 17-year-olds.

The center, whose website,, was slated to go live this week, will also serve adult clients, said Lengel, who lives in Lynbrook, but she stressed that its first focus will be on young people. “We see this as a business that could really take off,” she said. “Who knows? Maybe some day we’ll open franchises all across the Island. Kristie’s idea is that it’s hard for kids to go to a regular gym. They either have to be 18 or have their parents work out with them. So if you hear from your doctor that your child is nearing obesity, where can you turn? We’d like to be a place where parents can turn for help in getting their kids healthier.”