On a hot, sunny afternoon in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley, “Extra” host Mario Lopez leads a group of enthusiastic kids from the Boys and Girls Club in a calisthenics drill – along with two somewhat reluctant New Yorkers who build exotic fish tanks for a living.
“Brett and I are not in the greatest shape – he’s got bad knees, I’ve got a big belly – but it it was fun,” admitted Wayde King, who alongside Brett Raymer stars in Animal Planet’s hit reality show “Tanked.” “But it was definitely fun doing calisthenics on the lawn with the kids, and it was good for everyone to be athletic.”
Brett and Wayde weren't just visiting Monterey Park for a fitness lesson from Mario Lopez. They were on hand to reveal an exotic new custom fish tank that they had created for Mario on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley.
Lopez spoke exclusively to Fox News Latino about how fish and fitness came together for a good cause.
“I’m a fan of the show,” said Lopez, who has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club since the age of 5. “And I just thought it would be nice and special for Wayde and Brett to do a cool tank at one of the clubs for the kids.”
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After the outdoor calisthenics instruction, Mario brought the kids inside to give them the first look at the 180-gallon tank, which has a unique interactive component to inspire the kids to exercise.
“Now that they have an aquarium, the kids get mesmerized by the fish floating,” Wayde said, noting that after one of the kids saw the new tank, some expressed interest in becoming marine biologists. “They get educated by it – they want to know more about it. It’s a science and it’s an art, and they can learn from it.”
Lopez, who is the Alumni Ambassador of Fitness of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, credits his involvement with these clubs for growing up a healthy, successful man. “Both of my parents worked and there were lots of opportunities for me to trouble or gang activity — and these clubs were a big reason why I didn’t,” he told FNL.
“The Boys and Girls Club introduced me to wrestling, which was a very important part of my life. Now, I travel around the country, talking with kids about the importance of being active and healthy. I love that I’m able to give back and do cool stuff like this!”
Frank Sanchez, a VP for the Boys and Girls Club said he is grateful for Mario and the “Tanked” guys for their generosity. “Everything we believe in – education, stamina, physical fitness and responsibility – is built into this tank," he said. "They’re going to be changing lives for many years to come because of this tank.”
Mario, for his part, will never forget where he came from. “It’s important to me to give back to my community–and especially the Latino community,” explained Mario, who wants to inspire kids to see a life beyond their current circumstances. “You know, this little Mexican kid from Chula Vista is doing all right for himself.”
Mario Lopez’s episode of “Tanked” airs Friday, November 14 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Animal Planet
For more information about the Boys and Girls Club, visit: greatfutures.org