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We got our first taste of fundraising at breathe® on Thanksgiving 2006 when we held a benefit yoga class to support our fellow yogi, Michael Shields, and his passion for H.O.P.E - an outreach program he helped start in Haiti. From that time forward, it was clear that our yoga community could reach far beyond the borders of Pittsford.

Deciding where to focus our fundraising efforts was definitely more a decision of the heart than a calculated decision. Seane Corn, Suzanne Sterling and Hala Khouri founded Off the Mat, Into the World Seva Challenge as a way to use the collective power of the global yoga community to make a difference in the world. (The global yoga community is now 25 million yogis strong!!). Being a part of this collective tribe and working with Off The Mat is something that breathe® is committed to.

SEVA CHALLENGE: GLOBAL CONTRIBUTIONS
In 2008, we committed to our first Seva Challenge to help the underserved children in Cambodia. breathe® was the first to meet the $20,000 goal out of over a hundred people who took the pledge. Abby Weis was among the nineteen activists who traveled to Cambodia to work in the orphanage and helped put the funds to work.

In 2009, we again took the Seva Challenge pledge to raise $20,000 for the underserved women and children in wartorn Uganda. This cause really hit home in that the main project is to build and support a birthing center in Uganda were over 150 women are dying weekly due to childbirth related causes. The money that is being raised will change this unacceptable statistic. We completed our $20,000 pledge with our Thanksgiving Benefit Class.

In 2010, we completed our third pledge of $20,000 to OTM Seva Challenge. The funds went directly to help several organizations in South Africa working to treat and prevent AIDS. The money and on-the-ground labor we used to support six different non-governmental organizations (NGS's) created opportunities for sustainable change for the underserved.

The Global Seva Challenge 2011 was focused on supporting humanitarian efforts in Haiti. Again we met the $20,000 Challenge and used funds to help eradicate the tremendous financial and health crises that exist in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The 2012 Global Seva Challenge India marked the $100,000 mark for breathe® and 5th Challenge completed by our community. We are the only community in the world that has completed all the the Challenges! The work in India revolved around raising awareness of the root causes and impact of the global sex trafficking industry, and support organizations in India that are providing refuge, rehabilitation and economic opportunities to survivors.

In 2013, we are on board with the Global Seva Challenge with a $20,000 pledge to help uncover and investigate the most profound challenges to protecting the Amazon rainforest and upholding the rights of its people, both of which are being threatened by deforestation and oil production.

View photos of 2008 Seva Challenge dollars at work in Cambodia
View photos of 2009 Uganda Seva Challenge fundraiser with Julia Butterfly Hill
View photos of 2009 Seva Challenge dollars at work in Uganda

LOCAL FUNDRAISING:
After completing the Seva Challenge in May, 2008, with the help of our yoga community we went on to raise close to $15,000 for children's charities in Rochester. Bivona Children's Advocacy Center. Sojourner House, and Catholic Family Services were among the organizations we helped to support.

In 2009, breathe® was a supporter/contributor of the AidsRochester Red Ribbon Ride and catered a benefit dinner for the Night of 1000 Parties to benefit this local organization.

From 2012 to present we are aiming to make our local outreach even more inclusive by donating yoga classes for all causes that are near and dear to the hearts of our breathe® community by offering donations to silent auctions.

View photos from the Soujourner House fundraiser where breathe® raised $2500 to
fund the back-to-school back pack program.

Yoga is about union. People supporting people. Integrating that connection into breathe® has become a major part of the lifeblood of who we are.

 
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