"KHS 89 ALUMNI TEAM UP FOR A GOOD CAUSE" by Wanda Armstead Smith

Alumni networks are a great way to stay in touch with other former classmates! But even greater when members can actually come together and make a difference! However, Kinston High School class of 1989 graduates, Bonita Burney Simmons and Theresa Darden Hooker, are doing just that! The two are utilizing their alumni connection to make a difference in the lives of others by helping to raise funds to benefit post-incarcerated women who need help transitioning back into society. Bonita, who has founded a non-profit - Tried By Fire, Inc.- shares how she got involved.

"In 2000, as part of my ministry outreach, I began my journey of counseling and giving free concerts to inmates and those residing in mental hospitals. I soon realized that the recidivism rates of those who were repeat offenders was so great and that many of the inmates did not have a successful plan post-incarceration. Because of my obedience to God, it was then that I began working on the goal to make an even greater impact and began making plans to open a transitional home, My Sister's House."

Recently Bonita was planning the next fundraiser for her non-profit and knew she would need help so she turned to a few people in her network to help her with her Zumba® Fundraiser. Former classmate, Theresa "Firecracker" D. Hooker, who is a licensed Zumba® Instructor in Kinston, said she was more than happy to help. "While we may not have hung out together in high school, we both went to school and graduated together. I think this is such a great cause and when someone like Bonita asks for something, you try to do what you can to do it for her. I want to make sure that the program succeeds so I'm doing my part to help these women transition successfully back into society!"

On Saturday, June 20th, the two former classmates will join forces to host the fundraising event at Courts Plus of New Bern, NC from 10am-12pm. With just a $15 donation, participants will enjoy Fitness, Fun & Fellowship with a purpose to include 2 hours of action-packed Zumba Fitness® and inspiration by guest speaker, Wileasheara Barrera. Reservations are required by contacting Bonita (252) 637-2339 or Violet (252) 635-0711. Donations are also being accepted for those who are unable to attend but want to help. Please help these former classmates in their efforts @ http://www.gofundme.com/triedbyfireinc

About Bonita...
Bonita Burney Simmons lives in New Bern, NC. She is a minister and gospel recording artist who founded Tried By Fire, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit to benefit post-incarcerated women.

About Theresa...
Theresa "Firecracker" D. Hooker lives in Kinston, NC. She currently teaches Zumba® on Tuesday's at the Galaxy of Sports in Kinston from 5:30pm-6:30pm.



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