This is part four of a multi-part series that is being written to share ALL the work that we’re up to, beyond the obvious affordable and accessible drop-in yoga classes. You can read part one here, part two here, and part three here.
I’ll never forget the first conversations Pamela and I had with folks as we were opening the doors to SKY nearly seven years ago. They mostly went something like this (I’m paraphrasing): “Wow! What a great idea. Can it/will it work?.” Since SKY has been around for nearly 7 years now, we feel confident that we (as a collective community) have indeed “made it work”.
When we first opened we had a sliding scale pricing structure and people paid for class according to their self-declared income. This system was complicated on the bookkeeping end but it made explicit our belief that everyone’s needs can be met when those who have more pay more so those that have little can benefit from the same services.
Of course, our big dream absolutely requires community buy-in. We need folks to buy-in to the idea that yoga should be affordable AND teachers should be paid well. And in the absence of the sliding-scale system, we need the folks who can afford to pay more than $10 per class, or $50/month for unlimited yoga, to answer the call when asked. Like right now.
We are an organization with a budget of just under $200,000. The $35,000 we are raising during Give Big Month and Yoga in the park bridges the gap between the income we generate through our yoga classes, workshops, and other events and what it costs to keep this place going. This includes not just the stuff you surely know about – our outreach programs, our trauma-aware programs, our free weekly classes – but also the stuff you may not realize we’re doing.
To name a few:
A Youth Empowerment Camp for girls aged 13-16 who are in the Pierce County Juvenile Court system. (happening in August)
An internship program for youth in the Pierce County Juvenile Court system. (currently happening)
A 3-hour workshop as part of the upcoming Tacoma Girls Rock camp.
A partnership with Love Your Brain for folks living with Traumatic Brain Injury.
And we’ve got more big dreams that answer a question we have had since we opened: How can we continue to evolve to best serve this community?
One of the dreams we are holding is that of an educational program for kids that provides a “radical education for future humanist leaders”. Tawni Bell, a passionate and wise educator, has been incubating this dream in her being for some time and is trusting us to hold it with her; a non-cohersive, student directed, democratic/free school style school with a special focus on social/emotional development, social justice and activism, community building, and leadership.
A radical school connected to a yoga space? Yes! Because we firmly believe that social change happens when we are engaging from every angle and at every age.
So, nearly seven years later, our dreams continue to grow and evolve just like this space. And what was true then is true now – we need community buy-in. We are asking those of us who have more than we need, to share what we have, so everyone can benefit from what’s happening here, and these dreams we are holding can come to fruition.
We’re about a week away from Yoga in the Park with a lot of room to go to reach our goal. I am inviting you to dream big with us! To buy-in! To believe! As my friend Felicia Parazaider (who will be here in September to help us celebrate our 7th anniversary) recently reminded me: It takes more courage and realism to believe than it does to lose in despair.
I believe. Do you?
Go here to Give Big. (Friday July 14th we have a donor who is matching ALL donations up to $2000!)
Go here to register for Yoga in the Park.