Reaching for the stars with their toes is exactly what the members of the St Mary’s gymnastics club in Retreat are doing.The club was born out of an extramural activity at St Mary’s RC Primary School and is coached by one of the teachers, Marilyn Julies. Since she joined the school she decided to introduce interested learners to gymnastics.Almost all the club’s members who participated in the Western Cape Gymnastics Association’s Acro provincial trials last Saturday made it onto the Western Province team.The 21 gymnasts selected will be performing in the SA Gym Games in Gauteng in October. Though this is good news for the club and the school, they are struggling with finances to get the gymnasts to the competition. Each learner needs about R4000. “Most parents do not have the funds to purchase the Western Province Gymnastics clothes and also send these children to Pretoria. This is a huge thing for us and we really want all our children to go but there is no money. The club has grown so much and they really enjoy what they do,” Julies says. Happy placeShe says gymnastics helps the learners forget a little about where they come from. “Most of the children here come from underprivileged areas. They can barely make ends meet. One of the best gymnasts comes from close by and shares the house with eight other family members. There is no space to walk in as soon as you open the door. “This is the situation back home but when they take to the stage they forget about all that. They perform to their best level. They are in a happy space.“My motto has always been to prepare the children, not just for the competition but for the future. I want them to have a dream. I want them to see beyond their challenges at home and in the community, like extreme poverty, drug problems or gangsterism. “I know the children do their best and when they compete enjoy it. They don’t feel intimidated by the fact that they don’t have; they make do with what they have. We hope someone out there will help us sponsor a child and we can take everyone with us.”They need to pay by next week Monday. The club has to do a lot of fundraising to get by and they also need help with equipment, like leotards, tracksuits, gymnastics mats, parallel bars, a tumbling strip, beam and uneven bars. V For more information contact Marilyn Julies on 081 747 6160 or email@example.com.