$20,000 For the Seva Challenge
by Carly Weis
Well...we did it! For the 3rd consecutive year we raised $20,000 for the Seva challenge, part of the non-profit organization, "Off the Mat, Into the World."
Who is we? We is me, my family, and you -- if at anytime during the past 12 months you attended a Friday night DJ-ed vinyasa class, a holiday benefit class, purchased the hand made beads from Uganda or a breathe® world charity t-shirt or something from the massive garage sale my family had this summer, then YOU were a part of making this contribution of $20,000 possible.
What is the Seva Challenge? The Seva challenge was a thought, a spark, an initiative put forth by Seane Corn (an LA-based and internationally recognized yoga teacher) 3 years ago when she felt compelled to use her enormous platform to create change - major change. Seane is a Youth AIDS Ambassador and has been working with the organization as well as several others for years trying to bring money and awareness to people and communities who are in desperate need. She was continually being asked by students and people that she would meet in her travels as a teacher how they could help or what they could do to get involved, and from that the Seva Challenge was born. "Seva" is Sanskrit for "selfless service". Seane developed the idea with 2 other women, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling, to propose the goal of raising $20,000. They chose this as a number because for most, it is not simply a number that can easily be written as a single check and handed off. Instead, $20K would require the effort and support of not just an individual, but of an entire community in order to be made. If the goal is met by the end of the calendar year, the person who initiated responsibility of taking on the challenge would travel to the country chosen for that year and work to begin putting the money to use.
Who is the money going to? This year South Africa was chosen as the recipient of the money generated not just from those who reach the $20K, but all of the participants of the Seva Challenge who have worked all of 2010 raising $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 etc. -- in total, Off the Mat is hoping to generate $500,000 to bring to South Africa. There are several projects that will receive certain percentages of the money that has been raised. Some of these projects I am familiar with, others I won't know all of the specifics until I get there.
For the past 2 years that we have participated in the Seva Challenge I have enjoyed being an anonyms donor. There is something really appealing to me about being able to contribute to a cause that has such a momentum and such support behind it. Just knowing that my contribution was a part of the puzzle, without actually having to see the whole puzzle for myself was enough. This year is different for me. This year, I'm traveling to South Africa for 2 weeks in February to see exactly where all of our money as well as the money raised across the United States and Canada is being used and how it is being used. I will admit it hadn't really settled in that I would be the one going this year until I read it in the breathe® newsletter that we had made the goal and I sit here and write this blog. What will be really cool this year is that I will hopefully have some internet access and I can send updates back to Abby who will post them on the breathe® blog so that you can stay up to date and all that is happening over there.
Thank you, so much, for all of your continued support for this cause