he owner of a Parkville fitness facility hopes to sow kindness by prompting others to first care for themselves.
As the owner of a gym, Diana LaCerte did not know how she could participate in activities to eradicate hate. Friend Mindy Corporon had asked LaCerte to help in a foundation she formed in honor of her father and son who were killed in a shooting five years ago. Corporon’s father, William Lewis Corporon, and her 14-year-old son, Reat Griffin Underwood, were among three gunned down in a shooting at the Jewish Community Center. But when her friend suggested she be charged with diet and exercise activities, LaCerte said she “was all in.”
The free events are part of a weeklong series dubbed “Seven Days– Make a Ripple, Change the World,” which continues through Monday, April 15.
LaCerte met Corporon through their membership in two community groups and they formed a close friendship. LaCerte said she’s honored to have planned a day-long series of events, including classes in diet, exercise and meditation, that will take place at the gym’s three locations—Parkville, Overland Park and Kansas City.
LaCerte said she wanted to be supportive of her friend’s efforts to eradicate hate by replacing it with love.
“I just know Mindy’s heart,” she said of the former Kansas resident who has since moved to Florida. “My heart breaks for her,” she said, adding, “that’s a wound and pain I can’t even imagine.”
The foundation’s mission is to sow kindness and change the way we see others, especially those who are different, LaCerte said.
“Instead of being afraid of or hating someone, just talk to them and be kind,” she said.
The events are offered through Corporon’s foundation, “Seven Days–Make a Ripple, Change the World.” The foundation’s website at www.givesevendays.org asks visitors to click each day’s theme to “change the world in one week.” Each day has a theme with accompanying free activities throughout the Kansas City area where website visitors are encouraged, but not required, to register for the dozens of available activities.
LaCerte and her husband live in Kansas City and just opened their Parkville gym this past August.
Diana was charged with planning day five, dubbed “YOU Day,” focused on celebrating the mind, body and soul. YOU Day will be celebrated Thursday, April 11 at the gym’s three locations and classes will carry the message that “you have to take care of yourself first” before you can fully love others, she said.
Corporan added that many people don’t devote time or money to self-care although “there’s something we all struggle with every single day.” She added that self-care is not selfish. “We have to give ourselves permission,” Corporan said.
Thursday’s events are focused on interfaith workshops in which a former white supremacist will speak at 6 p.m. Thursday at The Church of the Resurrection in Leawood. The week of activity culminates on Monday in a walk for faith and love at 6 p.m. at the World War I Museum and Memorial and also will feature a party with music and food trucks.
The week culminates in a walk for faith and love at a 6 p.m. event at the World War I Museum and Memorial, which includes a walk, which begins at 6:30 p.m. The event also will feature a party with music and food trucks.
Since forming her foundation, Corporon said she’s learned a lot about hate groups.
While the shooter who took three lives at the Jewish Community Center grew up being taught to hate Jews, many who fall into hate groups are simply looking for a place to belong, she said.
“I feel like we’re getting into a space I never thought we’d get into,” she said of her education, through the foundation, these past few years. “I want our community to understand that lonely kids can get drawn in and sucked in,” she said, adding that conversations about how to avoid sexual predators need to include messages about not falling prey to groups focused on hate.
She said, “Once they’re in a group, it’s hard to get out without getting harmed.”