Looking Back at AYC’s Community Service Efforts

We find ourselves very fortunate to live and practice in Asheville where the values of businesses, as well as individuals, include thoughtfully caring for the community and those in need. Even with its growing popularity and population, Asheville still emphasizes the importance of supporting all things local.

If you look around at some of the city’s most prominent restaurants, breweries and shops you’ll find that they commit, in their own unique way, to supporting local non-profits in both Asheville and Western North Carolina. Whether its hosting a charitable event, fundraising, or giving donations, we find our community to be a very special and loving place.

As yogis, we believe that giving back is part of our calling in this life. One of the ethical principles of yoga is “seva” or “service-mindedness.” It teaches us to live in a way that is intentional, compassionate, self-less and above all, supports the well-being of others. But it’s not enough to just learn this principle without taking it to heart and putting action behind it. Part of yoga is practicing the principles and values learned on and off the mat. For this reason, we implemented a few ways to give back to those in need and to the community in meaningful ways aligned with our practice of service.

2019 will be the 7th year of Yoga in the Park, a series of donation-based yoga classes that raises funds for Homeward Bound and United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County. Classes occur every Saturday morning during the summer months. Individuals love this opportunity to bring their practice outside, enjoy warm weather and get together in a large community setting.

Although we found success in these efforts, we still felt that there was more we could do to help the community. So in 2017, we implemented a new way to show more support for local organizations. Thus, the AYC Charity of the Month project was born.

Thanks to the dedication of our members, community and partnerships with local non-profits, we were able to raise money and donate to 12 different charities in 2018. Our goal with this project was to support organizations working in as many different areas of need as possible. The non-profits funded in 2018 are as follows:

January – Asheville on Bikes

February – WNCAP

March – Girls on the Run

April – Our VOICE

May – MountainTrue

June – Asheville Green Works

July – Brother Wolf

August – Big Brothers & Big Sisters

September – Habitat for Humanity

October – Helpmate

November – MANNA FoodBank

December – Eblen Charities

Each month started out with donation boxes being placed in the Studio and Boutique for monetary donations. On the last Thursday of each month, ten percent of drop-in and community class sales were donated to each designated charity. Additionally, we gave a direct donation of $250. Through our 2018 Charity of the Month project, we were able to raise a total of $4,220 to give back to local area non-profits!

What made this year’s project so special was being able to see the direct impact that our contributions made on the community. Our funds, donated to Habitat for Humanity, helped pay the building costs of a house for a family in need. Our food item fundraiser for MANNA FoodBank raised 186 pounds of food, equaling a total of 155 meals for individuals facing food insecurities in WNC. These are just two examples, but it’s these kinds of impacts that are what make this project so meaningful and worthwhile.

We’d like to take this opportunity to show our deepest gratitude to everyone who supported our efforts and made this such a successful year! We couldn’t have done it without your generosity and dedication. As 2019 settles in, we’re looking forward to what we can achieve as we kick off the third year of the AYC Charity of the Month Project. Namaste.

See our 2019 Charity of the Month partners.