Children and adults alike practiced their best yoga poses at a Sensory Beans fundraiser in Bellmore’s FITmixx in late February. The event raised money for an up-and-coming nonprofit gym for children with special needs.
Sensory Beans co-founder Rachel Roslow, of Merrick, said the fundraiser’s outcome was more than she expected. “It was just great because everybody came,” she said. “We were maxed out of space — kids, adults, everyone came together to support a really great cause.”
Roslow and her husband, Brett, came up with the idea to start a special-needs gym after their first-born son, Ethan, was diagnosed with autism. Now the Roslows are hard at work raising money for Sensory Beans.
“The energy at the fundraiser was amazing,” Rachel Roslow said. “I mean, the instructor was great, the people were fantastic. I was so emotional, I couldn’t even talk to the crowd because tears just kept flowing.”
Instructor Kari DiMondo Nagengast led the class, teaching participants traditional yoga poses. Roslow said that between 45 and 50 people took part in the session. Donations from small businesses kept pouring in, including bagels and cookies from local shops. Roslow said there were several raffle prizes, including a teeth-whitening kit donated by CM Smiles in Merrick and a home design raffle.
“People donated so many different things,” Roslow said, “It was so nice to see everyone support Sensory Beans.”
The Roslows need $75,000 to start Sensory Beans. To date, they have raised just under $39,000 through donations and a few fundraisers. The FITmixx fundraiser brought in $1,636. But it’s not just the money that helps Sensory Beans get closer to its goal; it’s the support from the community as well.
“I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people from all over the county saying that they’ve never heard of a special-needs gym,” Roslow said. “If people will participate in this gym, and if it will help their families, we might have to start looking for more of a central location to cater to everyone.”
As of now, she has narrowed her search to two locations: one in North Merrick and one in Merrick. She continues to work with the Town of Hempstead to iron out zoning regulations. Until Sensory Beans is able to secure a location, Roslow said, she will continue to raising money.
“Our goal has always been to have the gym set up as soon as possible,” she said. “Hopefully it’ll be ready to go by the end of summer, but we will continue to fundraise for funds as long as it takes.”
For future Sensory Beans fundraisers or more information about the gym, visit www.sensorybeans.org.