in the News
following article appeared recently in several Maryland
local editions of The
Thursday, October 24, 2002
skinny on the Durekes
Publishing Group looks to follow in the footsteps of successful
By Sarah Schaefer
Special to The Gazette
Oswaldo Jimenez/The Gazette
and John Dureke, holding their eight-month-old daughter,
Destiny, show off their collection of books, tapes
and a clothing line at their office in Hyattsville.
Margaret Dureke were a superhero, she'd probably be called
the "Moxie Motivator." But in reality, Margaret has come
close to superhero status without the need of fancy names
or special powers.
-- author of Words and Phrases of Wisdom" and "How to Succeed
Against All Odds" and owner of JAHS Publishing Group in
Hyattsville with her husband, John -- has become an icon
to many Washingtonians who struggle with healthy living
In fact, hundreds of people from across the region have
lined up to watch Margaret sweat it out at local health
fairs, including NBC4's annual health expo.
the acclaim and admiration, Margaret said her success is
the result of hard work, not special talents or skills.
In "Words and Phrases of Wisdom," Margaret said, "I can
tell you that there is absolutely nothing special about
me except that I am not a quitter."
let Margaret's modesty overshadow her accomplishments.
1994, Margaret and her husband, John, both natives of Nigeria,
have operated JAHS Odiche Fitness & You, a small fitness
center in Hyattsville. The tiny storefront is where Margaret
shares her weight-loss success story with her patrons, all
the while extolling the virtues of hard work and. healthy
and John immigrated to the United States in the early '80s.
They met as college students and were married in 1987. Margaret
continued her studies at the Washington College of Law at
the early '90s, Margaret began a career in the legal world
but quickly felt the itch for "creative freedom."
Margaret; "I get bored easily, so the question was, 'What
do you do in America, when nobody knows you and you have
said her husband was surprised when she told him of her
desire to open a fitness studio and leave her career in
law. John, who has authored "The Goodluck Bird" and "The
Horrors of War from the Eyes of Children," wondered how
it would all work: -- Margaret was very overweight and had
no fitness training.
Still, John knew Margaret would not let her "morbidly obese"
condition and lack of fitness experience stand in the way
of her new goal.
creating a business plan, Margaret developed her own style
of fitness training and became a certified aerobics instructor.
In 1994, the couple opened a small space off of Knox Road
in College Park and, began promoting the fitness center.
Now the family-oriented fitness center attracts dedicated
patrons from all over the county.
Johnson, 38, of Hyattsville met Margaret six years ago.
When she came to Margaret's center, she was overweight and
unable to have children. Today, Johnson has lost 60 pounds
and gave birth to a son, Frank Jr., last year. Johnson said
Margaret's positive message coupled with the studio's non-competitive
atmosphere kept her coming back.
"When I came to their studio for the first time and saw
the 'before' and 'after', pictures of Margaret on the walls,
I thought, 'That's real.' I wasn't embarrassed when I came
here," she said, cooling down from a long workout. Johnson
is only one of the, many people who credit Margaret with
making a positive change in their lives. The Nigerian couple
has made a name for themselves in the Washington fitness
world, but their journey to success, Margaret said, was
long and sometimes difficult.
"No success is overnight," Margaret said, relaxing in the
studio's office. Margaret said their dream started like
many others, with little more than an idea and the desire
to help people.
Many say she has done just that. Catherine Rowell, who joined
JAHS in 1997, said she became hooked on Margaret's program
from the very start. "I felt stronger, more energized and
I was happy," Rowell said.
39, now teaches classes at the Hyattsville location and
promotes the program at local events.
When their fitness business began to stabilize, the enterprising
couple expanded their operations over the years to include
JAHS Active Wear and the JAHS Publishing Group.
has begun a series of promotional appearances and has been
scheduled to deliver several motivational speeches in the
"I'm booked all the way through March," she said.
Somehow most people figured that.
purchase Margaret and John Dureke's books or for more information
on JAHS, visit www.Jahspublishing.com
or call 301-864-2800.