Katie Spotz, an athlete and activist for clean water, hosted a barre class on April 22 to raise funds to bring clean water to a school in Honduras. Catherine Bart photo

SOUTH PORTLAND — A local activist and record-breaking runner managed to exceed her recent fundraising goal to raise money for clean water at a Honduras school as well as a Ugandan school on April 22.

Katie Spotz, a South Portland resident, hosted an online fitness class, “Raising the Barre for Water” with barre yoga instructor Emily Sferra, who taught the course virtually from Southern California. Some attendees participated in-person at The Point community center, located at 345 Clarks Pond Parkway.

With participants as far away as the United Kingdom attending for the cause, the event was able to fund a clean water project for the Luis Daniel Fonseca School in Honduras, Spotz said. The funds raised will also cover a rainwater collection tank at the Wakiso Secondary School for the Deaf in Uganda.

“The other school that will also be funded because of tonight is a school for 250 students in Uganda,” she said. “They already had a rainwater collection, but with the funding from tonight they will be able to have two rainwater collection tanks. That’s pretty incredible that we have not only been able to fund that one project, but surpass the original goal.”

Students at the Luis Daniel Fonseca School in Honduras have one latrine and no place to wash their hands, Spotz said.

“One of the teachers took it upon herself to apply for funding and last year they only had 13 students, so this water project has a big role in being able to get students back to the school,” she said.

The project will provide sanitation for the students as well, Spotz said. In a world impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are learning the importance of hygiene and want to help those without access to clean water.

Spotz’s fundraising will go to H20 for Life, a nonprofit organization that set up the water projects, according to a press release.

Participants who helped exceed the donation goal for clean water at a Honduras school on April 22 at The Point in South Portland. A barre instructor based in Southern California taught the group as well as online participants over Zoom. Catherine Bart photo

“Our workout will only be an hour, but the impact will last a lifetime,” she said before Sferra began the barre class.

Sferra is an instructor with Alo Moves, which describes barre as small rhythmic movements and high repetitions that burn out one’s muscles.

Spotz said she has been doing barre at least five days a week with Sferra.

“I learned about Emily through yoga, and I was looking for something that was a little bit more challenging, a little more targeted,” she said. “I found out about Emily about a year ago, and I’ve been doing her classes about five days a week.”

Last year, Spotz ran 138 miles across the state of Maine in 33 hours, she said. She plans to run across the state of Ohio, her previous home state, this year.

People can learn more about Sferra at empoweredfitness.online and H20 for Life at h2oforlifeschools.org.

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