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Martine Granby/MEDILL

Heath and fitness professional, Dietrich Horsey, wraps up the fifth annual TBLC fitness fundraiser with students and faculty.


Martine Granby/MEDILL

Students and faculty brace themselves for a game of tug of war.

Holistic assimilation is the mission of Truman College program

by Martine Granby
Nov 05, 2013

The Transitional Bilingual Learning Community at Truman College is a one-year program that serves as a bridge for Latino students with limited skills in English who would otherwise find it difficult to attend college. And it’s working.

TBLC hosted its fifth annual Cardio Fitness fundraiser last Wednesday. Cardio fitness is one of a few fundraisers TBLC hosts throughout the year. 

Fundraisers became a welcomed source of money once budget cuts began to affect internal scholarships. Scholarships that were crucial for students who do not have access to federal or state aid.

“That is when and why we began searching for ways to meet the difference,” said Ana King, fundraiser organizer and assistant chair of the communications department at Truman.

“As an instructor in this program, I thought, ‘How could I combine my two great loves, teaching and fitness.’” King then approached her personal trainer Dietrich Horsey with this dilemma; together they birthed the idea of the cardio fitness fundraiser.

King and Horsey wanted a cost-effective and accessible way for students to work out and gain knowledge in fitness. Using Truman’s gymnasium, Horsey planned activities that did not require expensive equipment, implementing his one-hour circuit training.

After the students warmed up from their training, they are given instruction on how to better approach their daily nutrition.

“I added the nutrition,” Horsey said, adding, “especially in this area, where you have a lot of African-Americans and Latinos, who tend to have the highest amount of obesity.” Horsey’s thought was to create a healthy habit out of something that affects students daily, eating.

“Eating should be where the focus is,” Horsey said, not trying to drastically alter students’ eating habits but heighten their intake awareness. “Good, better, best, it’s hard to replace a bad habit overnight,” Horsey said his preferred methodology towards eating by cutting down on the foods that are not the healthiest.

All proceeds from the fundraiser go toward scholarships for students. Horsey does not receive any money. His goal is to simply get students interested in moving and raise their self-esteem.

Originally from Nicaragua, Oscar Molina is in his first semester of TBLC. Molina upon graduation will be a first-generation college graduate. Molina was awarded a scholarship of about $1,000 from the last round of fundraisers. While the scholarship did help to pay for some of his tuition, he still has to face covering the costs of books and basic living expenses. Working two bartending jobs, in addition to being enrolled, as a full-time student is what Molina said will bring him closer to his goal.

“This program opened my eyes to more opportunities,” Molina said. He initially came to Truman to pursue a bachelor’s of science in art, but with the help of TBLC, he now feels more confident to pursue more challenging fields in either network technology or network security: “It pushed me to realize this is what I want.”

Although King’s goal is to raise money for scholarships, she aims to affect change in her students, “I feel like if I can reach one student, to change his or her lifestyle and habits, then this did more than raise money for scholarships.”