Church team snags top spot second time around

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AMONG the prizes awarded at the recently concluded National Health Fund (NHF)’s ’10th Anniversary Work-It-Out Challenge Virtual Awards Ceremony’ was the Corporate Social Responsibility Award given to the winning team in the competition, which celebrated a unique victory at their Sunday service on July 12, 2020.

One of the teams entered by Portmore Church of Christ was named top team and, as expected, handed over the Corporate Social Responsibility Award, valued at $50,000, to Annie Dawson Home for Children in Havendale, Kingston.

The year before, Portmore Church of Christ entered one team in the challenge and missed first place by one point. After this year’s challenge, it has two teams celebrating first and third place.

Captain of the winning team Jacqueline Simpson-Bennett recounted when she first met one of the trainers, Odean Taylor from FunRobics Fitness.

“He said we were going to take home the trophy for 2019,” said Simpson-Bennett. “And we all said yes. And him seh, ‘No fenke fenke yes. We tekking home this trophy!’ And we shouted, ‘Yes!’ ”

The other members of the winning team are Pauline Campbell-Griffiths, Rosemarie Pottinger and Marcia Pinnock.

“I know my team feels very good about our success,” said Simpson-Bennett, who described herself as a pusher.

She said having lost by one-point last year, she carefully picked a new team to ensure success.

One of Simpson-Bennett’s fond memories during the competition is of a special session with Kamila McDonald at Skyline Drive, as her passion for fitness led to her seek out more opportunities to work out. “There is nothing that I do not put my feet and hands to when it comes to exercise,” she said.

According to Taylor: “Jacqueline would come and if we were behind time, she would rally her group especially.”

He added that he felt rewarded when he tuned in to the awards ceremony and realised that many trophies were sent to St Catherine, as that was his goal. Taylor got the opportunity to celebrate with the winning team after the competition, when Simpson-Bennett prepared a cake and visited him at FunRobics Fitness to share in the joy.

In addition to calling and encouraging her teammates, Simpson-Bennett provided cooking and nutrition tips.

“The NHF provided a nutrition booklet for us which gives details about the nutritional value of foods and recommended portions of vegetables, starch, legumes, animal foods, fat and oil, as well as fruits,” she said.

But although the booklet was available, teammates often relied on her for help and recipes, such as her popular calalloo cake.

“My husband stuck with us throughout this programme,” said Simpson-Bennett. “I can’t leave him out. It’s not just for me, it is for everybody. If I didn’t drive, he would pick up every member of the team and take them wherever we needed to go. We called him our ‘pro’. He would get us water; he was the main supporter.”

Simpson-Bennett also gave glory to Jesus and said prayer was important to her team.

The Work-It-Out Challenge, which features exercise sessions, boot camps, dance-off sessions, and proper nutrition, encourages lifestyle changes in order to achieve a healthier mind and body.

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