Volunteer Spotlight: Joy Jumps for the Heart

As a playwright and author, the fantasy worlds that Joy Jones creates have always intersected with her real one. When she first wrote a play where the main character organizes team of adult double- dutch jumpers, the response was clear- people wanted to see Joy bring her idea to life. In 2004, DC Retro Jumpers was founded. Since then, the team has grown and evolved, participating in countless community demonstrations and clinics. Most importantly, though, DC Retro Jumpers gives adults the chance to be reminded that being active can be fun!

In fact, that is one of Joy’s favorite parts about DC Retro Jumpers- seeing adults briefly transform into care-free children. “Not everyone likes to exercise, but everyone likes to play,” she says. And she’s right. The positive reinforcement and camraderie seen in the double- dutch team is unique, and what has kept it going for all these years.

Growing up, Joy was always active, whether on a sports team or jump roping outside for fun. Unfortunately, kids growing up today are not as active, and their free time is often spent with technology. DC Retro Jumpers are stepping up to preserve the art of double dutch jumping, with clinics and demonstrations for kids. In her next book titled Jayla Jumps In Joy event writes about a multi- generational double- dutch team, continuing to forge the connection between her art and life.

In her book, the main character, Jayla’s, mom has hypertension, or high blood pressure. She uses exercise to control the disease. Similarly, Joy’s mom has hypertension and uses exercise to control the disease. Real life, however, is more complicated. Joy shares that it is a struggle to ensure that her own mother stays on top of her blood pressure medication.

The focus on addressing such issues, especially in the African American community is what initially attracted Joy to the American Heart Association. Seeing an organization focus on the needs of people like her mom, inspired her to begin volunteering. Being a volunteer with the American Heart Association has given her the chance to continue to spread information about heart health. Most importantly, she takes the opportunity to remind adults that working out doesn’t have to be work, it can be fun and exciting, just like it was during childhood!

Join us as a volunteer! Visit www.heart.org/dc for more information.

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