If there’s one word that captures what TNT Kid’s Fitness & Gymnastics does for our community, it’s collaboration. Well, that and fitness, anyway.
To say that TNT is busy would be an understatement. So would saying that they’re making a big impact on the needs of our community. In a nutshell, TNT works with children 18 months to 18 years and adults with special needs to deliver physical activity experiences. In fact, they serve 2,000 people a week via onsite programs like gymnastics, cheer, fitness, open gyms and birthday parties, and also through offsite programs in 21 area schools, 26 Head Start classes and nine daycare centers a week. When people come to them, they are able to use TNT’s facility; when they go offsite, they bring a mobile fitness program to kids during their day.
Even though TNT is a non-profit, that doesn’t mean their services aren’t expert. They employ professionals with exercise science and adaptive physical education degrees to run their programs, as well as hire students currently studying these fields in area colleges for part-time help. Thirty five students from the Jamestown School of Physical Therapy and some from Wahpeton come in for hands-on experience working in the schools and child care centers for their doctorate programs. Not to mention that TNT is the first area gymnastics center with an occupational therapy staff person.
TNT was formed in 2005 and officially opened in July 2006. At first, they served 134 kids a week, but they’ve grown steadily since. “It’s been a great journey teaching our community about who we are and who we service,” Kim Pladson, executive director, said. “That’s always an obstacle because it’s new and different.
While their offering is unique, it’s definitely filling a big need in the region, which was evidenced by their 2015 ChamberChoice win for Small Non-Profit of the Year. Pladson says they were honored to win the award, and that it validates that they have good business practices.
Aside from their partnerships with area schools and child care centers, they’re also excited about two new partnerships – ones that will coincide with their soon-to-be-expanded facility that will double the size of their existing building. Scheduled to be complete in March 2016, this new 20,000 square feet space will bring in permanent partnerships with Haley’s Hope and the Anne Carlsen Center. This will also open a new child care center there with 55 spots. “Think about what that can do for our community and captivating our resources together for a one-stop shop,” Pladson said.
It goes right along with the values she says are most important to them as an organization—collaborating and working with private and public agencies. “We were built on collaboration,” Pladson stated. “It’s rewarding to see people utilize our facility that otherwise wouldn’t have access to us because of our partnerships.”
But their involvement in the community involvement doesn’t end there! TNT staff also makes a point to volunteer their time around the region. They like to volunteer with Streets Alive and the Fargo Marathon youth run. “Some people may not understand how much people on the non-profit side give up their time too because we want to reinvest back into our community and make these events fun,” Pladson shared.
Even with all these amazing programs in place and plans in the works, TNT still has more to come. One new initiative they’re working on launching is a worksite wellness program. Led by Nate Hendrickson, TNT’s COO who completed The Chamber’s Leadership program last year, they are looking to offer teambuilding and wellness offerings through new partnerships.
Other goals going forward are simply to maximize the new space, layer programs to impact the community and serve populations in the community that are underserved, Pladson said. “We really look at what we can be to our community. That’s always our first goal. At the end of the day, there are people that want to be physically active, and that’s what we help them do. We help them find their potential through movement.”
If you’d like to help TNT help the community, save the date for their annual “In Their Shoes” event, January 28 at Holiday Inn Fargo. Proceeds from this event go into running TNT’s programs and operations and funds 60% of their Head Start program partnership.
2,000 children and adults served each week!
4 area higher education partnerships
9 daycare centers for mobile movement – offsite
26 SENDCAA/Head Start classes serving 436 children – offsite
21 special needs classes from area schools
22 collaborative community partnerships
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