Eric joined the CentroNía family back in 2016 when he volunteered to host CentroNía’s first annual Zumbathon, a fundraiser filled with 2 hours of fun, amazing dance moves, lots of smiles, and of course–sweat! Zumba has been Eric’s passion for over 10 years and he’s made quite the name for himself teaching classes at gyms and studios around DC, and even as a member of the faculty at The George Washington University. It all started back when Eric was working at the YMCA and happened to participate in a Zumba class one evening. Even though he was shy and struggled with the choreography, Eric immediately knew this was something he loved. His teacher at the time encouraged him to break out of his shell, inviting him to the front of the class and even asking him to join her on stage. Before long, she had convinced him to take classes to become an instructor and one fateful day when she was running late for class, Eric jumped on stage to get the class started. After that moment, Eric quickly started teaching classes whenever he could and in the process gained a loyal following throughout the city. Where he started out shy and reserved, Eric had grown to become the charismatic, enthusiastic Zumba teacher everyone knows and loves today and has been voted Best of DC Best Dance Class by Washington City Paper!
“Those first few Zumba classes I took were hard! I was so embarrassed that I would show up 5 minutes late and leave 5 minutes early so no one would see me,” recalled Eric.
Eric knows Zumba will always be his passion and for good reason – it has opened so many doors for him! He has traveled across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast teaching classes with other instructors he’s met at Zumba conferences or through teaching. He’s even taught classes in Iceland and Bolivia. During the Obama administration, Eric was also invited to the White House Easter Egg roll to do Zumba with the kids to get them excited for the activities to come. With a loyal fan base and strong network, Eric is a fundraising force who has shared his time and talent with CentroNía for over three years and also with many organizations in the area, such as: N Street Village, Nueva Vida, American Heart Association, and Literature Lab.
“I volunteer at CentroNía because I believe education and support for children and families is very important and I like supporting an organization founded in the community where I was raised serving families like mine,” said Eric.
In addition to sharing his love for Zumba with our community, Eric joined CentroNía’s Advisory Committee – a group of enthusiastic and passionate young professionals who network and raise friends, funds, and visibility for the children and families of CentroNía. Eric chose to get involved with CentroNía because it’s located in the neighborhood where he grew up and he feels he should give back to the community he’s called home. Having worked with young children in the past, Eric also understands the importance of early childhood education and family support services. And for mothers like his who work hard to provide for their families, CentroNía truly offers families the support they need. When he walks around the center, he sees himself in the curious, enthusiastic early learners. As a Spanish-speaker, he also appreciates how children are encouraged to embrace their own heritage and language. For Eric, CentroNía is a place of love and acceptance, and being able to see kids grow up and learn in a space that’s open to all truly makes him feel as though we’re doing right for our youngest learners.