Over the years (going on 5 now), the SD Yoga Conference Planning Team has intentionally cultivated ways in which the positive impact of hundreds of people coming together in the name of yoga and love, sharing the practices, can ripple back out into the community. One of the obvious impacts, or maybe not-so-obvious, is the glow of connection and prana in the immediate lives and circles of people who attend. Like Alexandra's testimony, for example:
"I signed up for the early bird special again & requested time off as soon as I had the tickets. It couldn't get here soon enough. I found myself almost craving that warm, loving, inclusive feeling that I get at SDYC. This is HUGE for someone with social anxiety. My coworkers tell me that I am "glowing" the Monday after SDYC. My only wish is that it would last longer, because it makes me SO HAPPY."
But how can we expand the positive impact? We quickly started to realize that we have a huge opportunity with this gathering to pool some resources and to raise awareness to make a positive impact for those who aren't able to make it to SDYC. A few years ago at one of Scottie's Women's Yoga Retreats, she had us do a "Seva Project," where we put together bags of supplies for 30+ people to deliver to WAVI. It felt amazing for each of the retreaters to put our minds, hearts, energy, and supplies into this type of service. And there's a constant need.
So our thoughts spiraled and grew.
What would it look like if we did a fundraiser?
What would it look like if we did a supply drive?
I wonder if they can use all these extra yoga pants from the clothing swap?
As it turns out, a fundraiser looks like a silent auction with huge community support and contributions of sweet stuff, which was quite popular with SDYC shoppers. We also did a plant sale. The two of which, combined with an extra cash donation from an SDYC goer, raised $3,000!!!
Oh yes, and WAVI was very very happy to receive all the leggings and yoga pants (20+ pairs) that were left behind from the clothing swap. Leggings are something they are always in need of. We also gathered generous donations of toiletries and hygiene products that people brought along. It has all been put to good and grateful use.
Over the past few years, SDYC has grown a relationship with Working Against Violence, Inc. (WAVI) in Rapid City. WAVI's mission is working to create a community free of domestic abuse and sexual assault through advocacy, education, and support services. They provide room and board for, at times, 50+ survivors (women, children, and men) who need a safe place to stay. These people often show up with nothing.
Every little bit helps, and we're all in this together.