NurtureU Wellness Celebrates 7-Year Anniversary with Fundraiser
By Kami-Leigh Agard
The number seven is said to represent fullness in life, and this past Sunday, May 21, local Samantha Cintron’s heart was boundlessly full as clients, friends, family and neighbors all came out to celebrate the epic seven-year anniversary of her wellness center, NurtureU Wellness (NUW). And judging from the scores of raffle gifts and the grand prize donated by local businesses towards her fundraiser for Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation NYC Take Steps Walk, Cintron and her NUW team are also well loved by Rockaway’s business community.
Belle Harbor resident Cintron is a certified wellness facilitator and licensed massage therapist, practicing for over 17 years. Her diverse vocational background is a testament to her gritty determination to learn, grow, persevere and nurture others. Originally from the Bronx, Cintron is a well-accomplished actress, co-starring in the movie, “One Fine Day,” with George Clooney. She also worked as a parenting workshop facilitator, diversity trainer for The Anti-Defamation League, and a social worker in the foster care system. Since becoming a massage therapist, Cintron still boasts quite an elite clientele, including Mariah Carey.
As to how she ended up opening her very own brick-and-mortar wellness center in May 2016 in Rockaway, Cintron attributed the opportunity as a manifestation of her life’s passion to nurture others, propelled by the support she received from her clients and a chance door that opened.
“At the time, I was practicing massage therapy in Rockaway, sharing the same space with an esthetician on Beach 116th Street above since-closed Blue Bungalow. When she left, I questioned if I should also leave and just rely on my massage private practice in the city. However, my clients in Rockaway were so supportive. Also, my partner is from here and we live in Belle Harbor with my daughter, who loves Rockaway. So, I took a leap and opened NUW,” Cintron said.
Within four years, NUW’s location on Beach 116th grew from offering various modes of massage therapy, to adding a host of other wellness services, including acupuncture and mental health therapy with clinical psychologist, Dr. Mary Beth Andrews, and licensed clinical social worker, Majida Ritter.
Then the future of NUW was thrown for a loop when COVID hit in March 2020. Cintron said, “Like many wellness and fitness centers, we had to close because of social distancing and the ban on hosting indoor sessions. Thankfully, Mary Beth never stopped working because she could conduct her mental health services over the phone or via Zoom.” Cintron added, laughing, “Some of my clients were like, you gotta figure out how to do massages on Zoom.”
So, for the following six months after NUW’s 116th location was permanently shuttered, Cintron did a lot of soul searching to figure out what she should do next. “I did think in the first six months of the pandemic that I had to go back to finding a job. I even went on a few interviews. However, once I went on those interviews, I became resolute in knowing my true purpose was to continue my journey with NUW here in Rockaway,” she shared.
Persevering against all odds, in September 2020 at the height of the pandemic, Cintron opened NUW in its now present home on Beach 120th Street. “Being here on Beach 120th has been such a blessing because on Beach 116th we were on the second floor, and weren’t very visible to people passing by. And so, when we moved into this space, folks started to casually come in asking about our services. Plus, Covid restrictions started to loosen, allowing spas and other hands-on wellness centers like ours to re-open with of course, all the mandated safety protocols.
“In the beginning, many people were hesitant and scared to come in. However, slowly, but surely, we became very busy, ensuring that our customers felt comfortable, and of course, safe. Moving NUW to Beach 120th Street, though unexpected, was the best thing we could have done,” Cintron said.
As for why she decided to combine NUW’s seven-year anniversary with her fundraiser for Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (C&CF) NYC Take Steps Walk, Cintron shared that her daughter, Michaela, and others who suffer from Crohn’s and Colitis are always at the forefront of her philanthropic initiatives.
“For the past three years, I’ve dedicated NUW’s anniversary to fundraising for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. At age 12, Michaela was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Since then, she has been in and out of remission, and two years ago, she was rushed to the hospital because of excruciating abdominal pain and had to have surgery to remove part of her intestine due to a blockage. So, this is why I continue to fundraise for C&CF to support their efforts to find a cure,” Cintron said.
As for what she’s most proud of since opening, Cintron chalked it up to being resilient and Rockaway Strong. “I really didn’t even know what community meant until I lived in Rockaway,” she said. “Together we’ve gone through so many different things like 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, and Covid. And what’s special about Rockaway is that people really come together to help each other. With our anniversary fundraiser, I am so grateful to all the businesses that supported us. Rockaway is truly about locals supporting locals. Plus, I must give an extra special thanks to my NUW team, especially Amanda Dereggi, Samantha Rodino and Dr. Mary Beth Andrews.”
Team NUW will be walking on June 15 for Crohn’s & Colitis NYS Take Steps Walk. Their goal is to raise $5,000. Chances to win a raffle gift are still open and the winning ticket for the grand prize will be drawn tomorrow, Friday, May 26 at 7 p.m. Raffle gifts vary from gift certificates for massage, facials, fitness classes, jewelry, Rockaway apparel and more! The grand prize is worth $1,000 and includes gift certificates for Nicole Frontera Salt Facial, NUW, Acupuncture & Wellness of Rockaway consultation and treatment, Rockaway Gem goodies, Harbor Light and Bishop’s Barn.
General raffle gift tickets are $10 for two tickets, seven for $20 and $50 for 25. Tickets for the grand prize are $20 for one ticket and $50 for 10. For all raffle tickets and donations, Cintron is accepting Venmo or you can walk into NUW, located at 120-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd, or message them on Instagram: @nuw_massage. If interested in directly donating to Team NurtureU Wellness’ fundraiser on the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation NYC Take Steps Walk’s website, visit: https://takesteps.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=10073
Nurture U Wellness is located at 120-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd. For more info about their services, visit: https://nurtureuwellness.com/