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More than just a gym

Koinonia Fayetteville Athletic Club members join together to keep community center afloat

Theresa Grosso is the new owner of Koinonia Fayetteville Athletic Club, located across from Wegmans in the old Fitness Forum space. Dozens of people have volunteered their time over the past five weeks to help ensure that the gym is a success.

Theresa Grosso is the new owner of Koinonia Fayetteville Athletic Club, located across from Wegmans in the old Fitness Forum space. Dozens of people have volunteered their time over the past five weeks to help ensure that the gym is a success. Allie Wenner

— “People have jumped in on a moment’s notice to cover the front desk, one woman is learning the new computer software and is helping to set it up, other people have been volunteering to help out with cleaning – we’ve got people lining up to help out in whatever way they can,” Grosso said.

But it’s not just inside the walls of the gym where the volunteer effort is taking place- one client is using his connections to provide free radio advertising. A couple others have donated large checks. One woman is helping to fund renovations to the locker rooms, while another man is donating a stone water sculpture for the entrance.

Tony A. has been a member at Koinonia for more than ten years, and he relied on the gym to help get his body functioning two times after having surgeries done. He’s also a member at another area gym, but prefers Koinonia because he knows he won’t get lost in the shuffle there.

“This is so good, I’ll pay extra for it,” he said. “Here, you’re not just a number, it’s always a very personal thing. They always say hello and know you by name, it’s almost like a safe zone, you know who you are with and there’s a level of trust that builds up here.”

He is one of many people dedicating his time to help out around the gym. In the past month, he’s repaired the audio on the TVs and in the studio rooms, among other things.

“There’s a level of volunteering going on here to save the place that’s kind of remarkable,” he said. “People are just saying, ‘Let me help fix that.’ I am paying as a member, but I want to contribute in another way, to keep something that’s good going. And you don’t see that very often.”

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