MAGIC VALLEY — Marisa Pugmire lost her son to suicide in 2017, but instead of focusing on her loss, she decided to use her grief to help other high school students with their mental health.
"When I lost my son to suicide, I started noticing people and how they were. No one smiled; kids looked like they were doing ok, but were they really? And so I just worried, I worried deep down inside because I think kids probably aren't doing as good as they think they are," Pugmire said.
Marisa is a Jazzercise class instructor. While talking to other instructors, she decided she wanted to use Jazzercise as a therapy method to help others with their struggles. She spoke with the high school her son used to attend and created a free, once a week Jazzercise class for students.
"I had one girl say she has always struggled with her self-esteem, and coming to Jazzercise and working out is her way of helping her feel better about herself," Pugmire said.
Jazzercise was created in 1969, and one Magic Valley instructor says the classes she teaches have helped her clients with their mental health. She says for one of her clients, the classes helped her with more than just weight loss.
"The weight is not necessarily what matters; it's what it does for my mind. She says she feels a huge sense of change in her attitude, aspects, and outlooks of life. She says she wants to get up in the morning, and she says I hated working out, and now I love working out. I love to come to class because of how it makes my mind feel," Amber Turner, owner of Jazzercise Gooding, said.
Marisa says Jazzercise has helped her maintain a positive outlook on life.
"Those days that I can work out, my attitude goes better. I feel better about myself, my own body, and my abilities when I have that chance to go workout," Pugmire said.