The event, organized by Special Olympics New York, increased awareness and raised funds for the Special Olympics movement. Officers and athletes carried the Flame of Hope in a 5K run into the Special Olympics New York City’s Metro Tournament.
Alex, who asked that his last name not be used, established the Forest Hills Rhythmic Gymnastics in 1991. He was contacted by the Special Olympics New York director of event planning about participating in the event for the first time.
“I was proud and happy to do a blessing for the people that are not as fortunate as our students,” he said. “I didn't think twice because I wanted to support physical and intellectual disability.
The Forest Hills Rhythmic Gymnastics participants included Amelie Siller, Elizabeth Velasco, Sarah Zerkal, Liya and Esther Borukhova, Alexandra and Amelia Haraida, Natalie Bangiyev, Sasha Lempert and Esther Rafailov.
The girls, who performed hoop and floor routines, were trained and led by Mila Spivak. Spivak has helped to produce hundreds of skillful gymnasts since the school’s beginning.
In addition to the Queens Torch Run, the Forest Hills Rhythmic Gymnastics supports various local causes.
On June 16, during an annual Father’s Day performance, the Forest Hills Rhythmic Gymnastics will raise funds for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Pediatrics Department. Last year, the event raised over $10,000 for the center.
The show will be held at 106-06 Queens Boulevard from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.
“Children should learn from a young age to support other children,” said Alex. “Their heart should be always open to help other people in need.”