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| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

“People killin', people dyin’;

Children hurt and you hear 'em cryin’

Will you practice what you preach?

And would you turn the other cheek?”

Sound familiar?  Other than being a reoccurring theme throughout history, these are also the lyrics to the Black Eyed Peas song, “Where is the Love,” just one of the specially curated songs that grandchildren of Holocaust survivors pedaled to during a Flywheel class on May 20th at the Flywheel Sports Chelsea Studio.

The grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, or “3Gs” as we like to call ourselves (meaning the third generation), gathered to get their legs pumping and compete against one another in a cardio-intensive spin class.  However, getting a sweat-drenched workout in a dark room on a Sunday afternoon was only one of the perks of attending the event. The other benefit and the event’s main goal was to raise money for 3GNY, a non-profit organization founded by grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.  According to its website, the organization’s mission is to educate diverse communities about the perils of intolerance and to provide a supportive forum for the descendants of survivors.  Astonishingly, our generation is the last living link to Holocaust survivors.  

The event attracted a few new members interested in raising money for the organization.  One newer member, Lauren Konopko, noted that the Holocaust helps us examine present-day issues of intolerance and persecution.  Konopko said:

As a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I know how essential it is to educate future generations about the Holocaust and to honor the legacy of our families. Unfortunately, as survivors get older and pass away, it is increasingly imperative for the third generation to learn and share their stories, providing names and faces to the horrors of the past while preserving their strength and hope of a brighter future. Given the current political climate, I believe educating diverse communities about the dangers of intolerance on a personal level is key to promoting mutual understanding and respect.

Tickets to the event included 3GNY sweatbands, which members proudly sported around their wrists and heads as they pedaled up steep, imaginary hills.  Tickets also came with shoe rental, water, towel, and a Starbucks gift card for the race winner! All proceeds of the event went toward training participants for 3GNY’s WEDU program. WEDU (We Educate) is 3GNY'S educational initiative that empowers 3Gs to learn and share their family's compelling Holocaust experiences with students and community groups. Training is provided at no cost to the participants.  Individuals who have completed the program frequently volunteer to tell their grandparents’ stories in classrooms throughout the tristate area, actively engaging students to think about ways to confront intolerance and prejudice.  One 3GNY member in attendance at the event expressed that she valued the opportunity to raise funds for an organization that is dear to her heart. She said, “as a WEDU participant who has been in over 40 classrooms, it was fantastic to have fun while raising money to train new participants. It was especially meaningful because the Flywheel instructor was in the last WEDU class.”

Flywheel instructor and 3GNY member Jessica Bielski led the high-energy Flywheel class, serving as a constant motivator to just keep spinning while bringing our spirits up.  Participants found it particularly meaningful to have a member of the organization run the class. Konopko said, “Though I was nervous about the Flywheel class itself (I've only been once before!), Jessica Bielski - the instructor and a fellow 3G - was so upbeat and encouraging that I had a fantastic time. I'm looking forward to attending more 3GNY events in the future and bringing friends!”