emPOWER kids is more than a fitness program. We are dedicated to building strong bodies, minds and hearts. Our curriculum focuses on overall physical well-being, mindfulness, and social-emotional connections with peers.
We want every child to feel loved and welcome in class, free to be themselves. Our program respects every individual and encourages all participants to support peers in their personal growth. Instructors bring positive energy to class and use language that encourages a growth mindset.
While we love to get excited when kids learn new skills, we celebrate the real wins during class - kids showing empathy, making friends, overcoming fears, sharing how they feel, taking turns, cheering on classmates, expressing gratitude and all the little moments in between.
Jenni started emPOWER kids in 2020, after the COVID-19 crisis changed our lives. Like so many others, she felt the call to give back to the community in a meaningful way. She recognized a void in extracurricular activities for kids, programs that focus on overall wellness. While fun and fitness are most common, mental and social-emotional health programs are rare. In bringing these wellness areas together, emPOWER kids was born. Jenni brings over a decade of experience coaching recreational and competitive gymnastics, and Elementary Ed background, and is currently pursuing her RYT 200 yoga certification. She lives in Arlington with her soccer-loving husband Jim, two kiddos Reese & Dylan, and their COVID-kitty Cobi.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Vanessa became a gymnast at age 3. After years of competition, she transitioned into weight lifting and coaching in high school, which sparked her interest in Kinesiology. For over a decade, she's explored the world of meditation, yoga and mind-body connection, and recently completed her Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from George Mason University. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from NSCA. When she's not coaching at the gym, you can find her personal training adults, spending as much time as possible outdoors with her pup Loki, or enjoying Mexican Food!
Suzi West was born and raised in Chicago, but moved to VIrginia just in time to start high school in Arlington at Yorktown High School. Her bachelor degree in Spanish is from Frostburg State University. In 2016, she earned her Master’s in Educational Leadership. She comes to EmPOWER KIds with 21 years of experience working with children, as a Spanish teacher and as a director of after school programs. Suzi is passionate about Social Emotional Learning and the Developmental Assets. She was selected as an inaugural fellow for the National AfterSchool Associations Social Emotional Leadership program. Suzi is very excited to work with the emPOWER Extended Day program. When she is not working, Suzi loves spending time with her nieces, going out to dinner with friends, and making plans to travel.
ShaeLyn Harris, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with almost a decade of experience working with individuals with special needs. As a former gymnast, ShaeLyn understands the value of learning through active movement. With limited options for individuals who need additional support, ShaeLyn obtained her Certification in both nutrition and personal training to provide opportunities for all individuals to have access to healthier lifestyles. ShaeLyn provides group classes that aim towards fun and social skills, private classes for those looking to increase specific skills and goals, nutrition coaching, and educational workshops in nutrition, exercise and parenting.
Bella grew up in Wichita, Kansas and is a recent graduate from Kansas State University studying apparel marketing. In high school, Bella participated in many sports ranging from dance, cheer, soccer, and cross country. In college, she took up boxing and has a love of movement. Though fair trade clothing is her area of study, inspiring kids to learn to love their bodies and realize their strength is also her passion. Outside of work you’ll find Bella snowboarding in the mountains, hanging out with her family in the area, and making something from scratch.
Ella took her first gymnastics class when she was three, got the hang of the cartwheel and pullover by six, and decided to jump into softball in first grade. She’s been playing softball ever since, but she’s never forgotten the joy and confidence she gained from her early gymnastics days. Ella loves helping the next generation learn new tumbling skills, but her favorite part is seeing their excitement when they make a make a friend, tell a story, or try something new—all of those moments that help kids learn that they are capable and strong. When she’s not teaching gymnastics or playing softball, Ella can be found leading the cello section in the Yorktown High School chamber orchestra, reading, baking, hiking, or playing with her sweet pandemic puppy, Luna.
Coach Annie was born and raised in Maryland. She spent much of her childhood doing competitive gymnastics, eventually earning a gymnastics scholarship to the University of Iowa. Annie has a master's degree in special education. She spent several years teaching before taking a break to raise her kids. When not working, Annie enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, walking her dog, and doing puzzles.
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Bio Coming Soon!
Bio Coming Soon!