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Downtown Library health fair looks to boost wellness for all

Joscelynn Baio knows the blessings that can come from strangers dropping into your life.

She met her husband after she caught the bouquet at her best friend’s wedding, and Peter Baio caught the garter. Almost a dozen years of marriage and three children later – after Joscelynn started a Town of Tonawanda fitness business – she met Shelley Snyder, a fitness trainer who was retiring and looking for someone to take over her Josh & Friends exercise program for people with special needs. The program is named for her son, Josh Helner, 40, who has Down syndrome.

Baio, 39, a God-always-has-a-plan person, has run the program for the last year as part of her Sow it Now Health & Fitness repertoire, which also includes Zumba, cardio kickboxing, boot camp, personal training, Pound, and Bokwa, a gentler form of Zumba.

Her staff will be among those to help with the Downtown Central Library Health Fair, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at 1 Lafayette Square.

The fair will feature free health screenings, wholesome foods and recipes, make-your-own smoothies, kids crafts and more. Sow it Now ( will offer free Zumba and TRX band classes. For more info, visit

Baio holds a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Columbia Southern University. She is a certified Zumba instructor and personal trainer. She and her husband, a web developer with M&T Bank, have three children Rachael, 9, Salvatore, 7, and Aniella, 4.

Q. Can you talk about Josh & Friends?

Last year, I was asked to expand our Zumba in the Circuit for those with developmental disabilities. That class alternates between one minute of circuit muscle strength training and one minute of Zumba. Since then, I’ve been teaching this most amazing, incredible population. My gym is now all-inclusive. We as a culture, and it’s not just here in the U.S. ... often look down on those who are different. ... The human mind has to change. We’re not just working with the fit population, the deconditioned, the older population, veterans or the disabled, or the mentally challenged. We’re all one body. That’s how life should be.

We do three fitness classes at New Covenant Church, at 345 McConkey Drive in Town of Tonawanda, where I’ve been a member for seven years. On May 1, we’re moving from the other location at 3285 Delaware Ave. to a former dance studio at 1292 Sheridan Drive. It’s in the Sheridan Parkside neighborhood. We needed a bigger space. We’re going to expand Josh & Friends to more than two times a day and want to do all-inclusive camps.

Q. What are the most important steps to best guarding or improving your health?

Keep moving. I tell people, “Eat whole foods and exercise for two days, and then repeat.” Recognize that you have to take care of yourself. Have faith in yourself. When you know you have to get into something healthy, that’s the first step. Then you have to understand that you have within you the incredible ability to be more than you are. Don’t ever put a cap on what you’re capable of doing. And when people come in, I tell them, “Keep up the good work.”

Q. What is the most important thing folks should do to improve their fitness as we push toward summer?

I don’t want people to focus on the beach body, to be someone they may not be. I want people to take that first step to be strong and healthy, and not focus on what the world sees but focus on how we want to be in our hearts. We need to be heart healthy before we need to be focused on a summer body. I’m not focusing on the vain. Do what you enjoy. You might not like Zumba. You might like running or to go canoeing. Find out what you enjoy and do it.


Twitter: @BNrefresh, @ScottBScanlon

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