Community Collaboration

When the pandemic arrived in 2020, an important part of my life was hit hard, Desert Song Healing Arts Center.  Since 2003, it was my yoga community where I taught and practiced, as well as a personal refuge in many ways.  The same week the Seed shut down, the studio’s doors also closed.  Several of the teachers, including my friend and colleague, Evon Hart, seamlessly made the transition to teaching yoga virtually.  I continued my yoga practice with her in the space of my art room at home. In May 2021, Desert Song’s 38 year history came to an end.  It felt like we all scattered to the wind. 

For three and a half years, I’ve continued my virtual practice with Evon, and was delighted this past September when she opened up her own studio, Community Yoga, in north Phoenix. Most Saturdays I now make the half hour drive to once again practice yoga in-person.  In addition to Evon’s inclusive, engaging, rigorous classes, she is committed to community service.  On a regular basis she has a community service project going.  Her December project is collecting new and gently used jackets for unhoused people in the valley.  Interestingly, our 2nd-4th grade class was entertaining a similar jacket drive, so I approached her about collaborating.  Evon eagerly said yes, and came to the Seed on Tuesday afternoon to talk with the kids about it.  She told them about her own history with community service, which was in large part inspired by her son’s interest in serving the unhoused by bringing them food and water.  Students had lots of questions for her as we worked through the details of the jacket collecting project.  

Each student is creating a poster or flyer to advertise the project.  We have set a goal of collecting 150 jackets total, which I’m guessing we’ll easily exceed, with the level of enthusiasm involved.  We’re collecting new and gently used jackets. Most of the recipients will be adults, but if anyone has children’s jackets, we’ll take those as well.  Our participation will mostly be collecting, and Evon is going to handle the distribution.  

We hope our Seed community will rally around this project, providing warmth for many unhoused folks, and simultaneously giving our students a meaningful experience of seasonal giving.  The deadline for collecting jackets is Friday, December 15.  You can leave all donations in the big bin outside the 2nd-4th classroom.  Please check with Bianca, Fiona, or Mary if you have any questions.  For more information about Community Yoga check out this link.

Thanks ahead of time for your generous support of this project.  Here’s a poem one of the children wrote in response to a conversation about not having a jacket:

Freezing Up

if I was on the street
it would be freezing
it feels like ice blocks
are falling
the temperature
is dropping

save me from
the tornado of ice

jacket, please
but the real warmth
is love


2 thoughts on “Community Collaboration

  1. My heart sank, but only for a moment, when you reminded readers of The Seed and Desert Song closing because you always find hope, patience and beauty. The Seed reopened and Desert Song’s teachers stayed connected with students. No one froze up…Evon helps others in need…Isaac reminds us to prevent people from freezing up by donating coats. His poem should be posted everywhere!!!
    Mary I am grateful for Desert Song where I walked into your class and walked out with a lifetime of friendship and met beautiful Seeds!

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