A community is only as good as the people in it. Charissa Porcu founded Soaring High Academy in 2011. The locally sponsored gymnasium hosts exercise programs open to adults and children including tumbling, gymnastics, and parkour.
She is dedicated to providing the community with a safe, nurturing environment for children to participate in physical activities, and makes sure the needs of families and children that her business serves are the first priority.
Why did you decide to start Soaring High Academy?
In the same way, I have always been active and loved physical activity. I have reaped the benefits personally and want to encourage this love in others. When I started the High Desert Gymnastics Center in 2007, I realized how many families in our community, specifically the Tri-Communities, tragically cannot afford the cost of monthly gymnastics classes. With the IRS determination in 2011 for Soaring High Academy, being able to help with that need is fantastic.
How does your work impact the community?
By providing scholarships and financial help with program costs, more families in our community can participate. As children especially see that exercise is “fun” and start seeing the benefits of it, their love for it grows. It can affect their entire family’s habits, as our hope is that parents will change their own lifestyles to improve their health.
What do you do to renew yourself personally?
That is a hard one. Between running Soaring High Academy and my various community positions, my time seems pretty filled. My wonderful family fills the rest of my time – husband Greg of 30 years, my daughter Rachel and son-in-law Peter, grandson Zy, and son Jeremy. The church is a weekly time where I can go and be renewed, and I pray for strength and direction to see how I can best serve our community.
What would you be doing if you were not doing what you do?
I have no idea. I’m sure that my yard would look better and my house would be cleaner, but It would not be nearly as fulfilling.
What are your hobbies and past-times?
Furthermore, when I have time I love to garden. I am an avid Laker fan, but of course, this season is disappointing. Family dinners most Sundays are very important to me. My heart is for this community and what I can do to serve people here, and to make it a better place to raise families.
What do you learn from others around you?
I love surrounding myself with like-minded, positive people. I want to be around the ones who work toward change – who are active and self-motivated, they inspire me. Many people in the non-profit sector amaze me with their sacrifice.
What are your feelings about fitness, nutrition, a diet for personal benefit?
Life is a precious gift for each of us, and we should not waste it. Everything we do to take care of our bodies is so important. Similarly, exercise and eating correctly are key to doing the most we can with what we have been given.
Reporting by Rowena McDermott