Unsung Heroes: Iris Yolanda Martinez-Cintron

The Unsung Hero program recognizes ZIN™ Members around the world for their outstanding contributions to their communities, and for their ability to inspire others. This month, September 2016, we celebrate ZIN™ Member, Iris Yolanda Martinez-Cintron (Yolie), in Florida, USA, for her determined passion to support the victims and their families following the tragedy that took place at Pulse nightclub.

For many years, Yolie has been a champion for the LGBT community.  In the early hours of June 12, 2016, a shooter entered Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, taking the lives of 49 people and wounding 53 others.  This devastating act of violence immediately changed the Orlando Community, and people around the world grieved with them.

Just a few weeks later, at the 2016 ZIN Convention in Orlando, Yolie connected with Community Advisor, David Topel, and Community Development Manager, Gina Graziani.  Yolie shared with them that since the tragedy at Pulse, she had been working tirelessly with victims and their families.  From a mother who lost her son that night, to a beautiful young woman who was shot 9 times and survived, and countless others, Yolie was there for them 24/7, a hand to hold, an ear to listen and a heart full of love.

Yolie said she knew if some of these victims and families could feel the power of the Zumba® Community, it would surely help them heal.  Together, the Zumba Home Office team and Yolie went into action in that moment.  Yolie invited these incredible people to meet by the We Move the World stage, if nothing else, just to meet ZIN Members and listen to the music…but what happened next was much, much more. Yolie and local Orlando community members joined together on the stage, along with several of the amazing people affected by the tragedy, and ZIN Members from around the world…dancing, singing, and celebrating life together.  The founders of Zumba Fitness, CEO, Alberto Perlman, COO, Alberto Aghion, and CCO, Beto Perez, even joined them on stage to humbly offer their support.  This is what we do as Zumba Instructors; come together in unity through dance and music.  Yolie knew this, and wanted this for her Community.  It was a precious and special moment for everyone there.

Yolie, thank you for your unwaivering support for others.  Your fierce dedication and gentle spirit inspire us to be there for others in times of need.

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