Local High School Students Organize “Sweat Fest,” a Fundraiser for Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA)

lululemon Old Orchard Community Specialist Tina Reilly (far left) with 18 of the 25 students that are a part of The Sweat Set Project. Pictured: Olivia Bhote (Glencoe), Sofia Boczkowski (Evanston), Maeghan Chase (Wilmette), Caroline Clesen (Northbrook), Greg Demakos (Winnetka), Jack Eilts (Glenview), Nick Eilts (Glenview), Lily Fitzgerald (Evanston), Sydney Holubow (Deerfield), Ellie Lim (Northbrook), Maddie McGregor (Wilmette), Catherine Power (Winnetka), Audrey Richardson (Winnetka), Paulina Rodriguez (Glenview), Julianne Ross (Kenilworth), Sophia Salazar (Wilmette), Lindsey Sibell (Wilmette) and Will Zordani (Lake Forest).

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The Sweat Set Project includes students from Deerfield High School, Evanston Township High School, Glenbrook North High School, Glenbrook South High School, Lake Forest High School, Loyola Academy and New Trier High School.

Northbrook – April 15, 2019 – Join The Sweat Set Project (TSSP) and NSSRA at Sweat Fest! Organized by a group of teens from nine north shore area high schools, Sweat Fest is a fundraising event on Saturday, April 27 with all proceeds benefitting NSSRA. Featuring a rewarding workout, great music and fun giveaways, the event includes three back-to-back 30-minute fitness classes followed by a musical performance from Molehill.

“TSSP is a group of high school students with a passion for fitness and service,” said Kam Gottlieb, a senior at New Trier High School. “We have been meeting since the summer to plan a fundraiser in collaboration with lululemon Old Orchard for a local charity.”

“At lululemon, we are always looking to connect with the communities surrounding our stores in a very local, authentic and impactful way,” said store Community Specialist Tina Reilly. “The idea for The Sweat Set Project was born out of the desire to promote what we value as a company: leading healthy lives, making a difference and building community from the ground up.”

NSSRA was recommended to the group by TSSP member and fellow student Will Zordani of Lake Forest High School. “My friend Quinn participates in the basketball league with NSSRA,” said Zordani. “He has autism and I’ve been friends with him since first grade, so I’ve known about NSSRA for basically my entire life.”

NSSRA participant Tim Siebert of Lake Bluff and a handful of NSSRA staff presented at the group’s December meeting to share the agency’s mission, work and impact. Recalling the evening, Evanston Township High School senior Sofia Boczkowski commented, “I was totally rooting for NSSRA! There was something special about you guys that we really appreciated.”

That night wasn’t Boczkowski’s first introduction to NSSRA. “As a sophomore, I ran the Best Buddies club at my school, and I helped start up the Special Olympics club at the time. We actually had a few students talk about doing NSSRA, and at the time I was working closely with the head of the special education department to try to incorporate the mindset of NSSRA into Special Olympics.” She continued, “when Will suggested NSSRA to us, it totally took me back to when I was 15 and trying to create this club at my school.”

“NSSRA was selected as the recipient for Sweat Fest because of the alignment of their mission with that of lululemon’s,” commented Gottlieb. “Respect, inclusivity, and wellness were three that really jumped out to us as values of NSSRA that we found very similar to what we value as a club.”

“Sweat Fest will be the culmination of TSSP’s work over the academic year,” concluded Reilly. “The idea is to connect with their peers intellectually, physically and emotionally by engaging attendees brains, bodies and feelings, all while giving back to NSSRA, a local organization that does so much to enrich the lives of others.”

The heart of the event is to promote wellness and inclusion in the community, values each student in TSSP is passionate about, especially Will.

“At my school, inclusion is not always met, at least in my opinion,” he said. “I’m friends with Quinn, but a lot of kids at our school don’t understand that he’s actually one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet in your entire life and he’s actually very, very smart. People can’t seem to see through his autism, so I think our goal is to promote inclusion, and obviously to support NSSRA. That’s my whole goal with the effort, to promote inclusion and spread awareness.”

Event Information:
Sweat Fest, presented by The Sweat Set Project at lululemon Old Orchard
Saturday, April 27 • 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Kenilworth Assembly Hall, 410 Kenilworth Ave

Tickets are available for $25. Purchase tickets here.


NSSRA provides and facilitates year-round recreation programs and services for children, teens and adults with disabilities who live in the partner communities. NSSRA is an extension of ten park districts, two cities and one village in the northern suburbs of Chicago. This partnership includes the Park Districts of Deerfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Northbrook, Northfield, Wilmette and Winnetka; the Cities of Highwood and Lake Forest; and the Village of Riverwoods. NSSRA has been creating an environment of belonging through play since 1970, and has the distinction as the first Special Recreation Association in the country. For more information about NSSRA and the programs and services it provides visit www.nssra.org.

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