Hidden Heroes: Woman helps Bronx residents attain healthy lifestyle

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Michelle Charlesworth reports on a hidden hero going above and beyond to help others get healthy

Clarisa Alayeto is fierce and getting even stronger every day.

Alayeto teaches classes for free in a public housing community center in Mott Haven - a neighborhood that doesn't have anything like this. She also teaches people how to eat salmon instead of fried chicken and almonds instead of chips.

"The majority of my sugar was rice and bread, but I also had a problem with soda and juice," said Alayeto.

She could be making money teaching these classes in the city, but instead she teaches because she says residents have nowhere else to go.

"This is where my heart is - I always say home is where your heart is," adds Alayeto.

Alayeto props people up and teaches them how to put down soda and pick up water and also teaches them how important it is to move every day. Alayeto is living proof. Two years ago, she was diagnosed with type two diabetes, but she has cured herself by turning things around by moving and eating right. She no longer has diabetes, she is 80 pounds lighter, and she gets through to people.

"It's not that they don't want to, they do not have access. And they don't know any other way - no one is showing them, and if I can, I want to be that person for the people I really care about," Alayeto says.

"All I can say is this girl's a blessing," says class member Kim Cheeseboro.

Cheeseboro lost the most weight last week - five pounds!

Alayeto's dream is to build a free fitness center in the neighborhood and to attract healthy grocery stores.

"I will shop Whole Foods, but I have to travel to get there. What if we got a Trader Joe's here in the South Bronx, too - that would be amazing, right?" she said.

And her advice? Educate yourself, so you can love and heal yourself.

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Related Topics:
healthhidden heroeshealthexercisefitnessMott HavenNew York CityBronx
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