Debbie Koeppel: swimming for a cause
Photo: Courtesy Debbie Koeppel
“It’s been a lot of fun to be back together, safely, and caring for our own health while doing good for others at the same time,” said Debbie Koeppel, a water aerobics teacher at the JCC who, during the pandemic, has also taught classes at her home pool. While the J’s pool was closed she started teaching classes at home to benefit programs at Jewish Family Service.

By Deb Silverthorn
Debbie Koeppel has opened her pool to small water aerobics classes for a cause — raising money for Jewish Family Service and the North Texas Food Bank.
When the pools where Koeppel teaches water aerobics closed during COVID-19, Koeppel started socially distanced classes in her home pool. With no evidence from public health experts that the virus spreads through water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas, Koeppel believed it was safe to give her students the opportunity for exercise for a cause.
“I loved taking water aerobics at the J so much that I learned how to teach and I was missing the pool, the people, the fun and the exercise,” said Koeppel, who limits her classes to four participants each. “It’s been a lot of fun to be back together, safely, and caring for our own health while doing good for others at the same time.”
Married to Peter, and the mother of Alex and Paige, Koeppel is a Dallas native and lifelong member of Temple Emanu-El. She and her children learned to swim at the J, which she describes as her home away from home.
“We’re dancing in the water, to disco, classic rock, whatever,” she said. “I really mix it up and the camaraderie is just very special. It’s a thrill to be together, however that is.”
Koeppel’s first donation was to the North Texas Food Bank.
Since mid-June, she’s been raising money through her classes; Koeppel has also supported JFS, having donated $1,000 so far to the organization’s Food Pantry, Career and Financial Empowerment Fund and Diaper Shower.
“Debbie has a huge heart,” said Allison Harding, JFS director of Career and Financial Services. “She is one of the warmest, kindest, friendliest and most caring people I know and literally every dollar makes a difference.”
As the JCC’s pool has reopened, Koeppel is thrilled to be back there teaching while still holding classes at home.
“The pandemic has meant we have to change how we do things, how we volunteer, but it doesn’t mean we have to stop,” said Koeppel. “Take your talent, do what you love, include others and find a way to make a difference.”

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