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Ilana Zaken's Fundraiser:

Lineage Project Fundraiser

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BENEFITING:

Ilana Zaken

THE STORY:

Many of you know that I've spent the past several years of my life practicing and teaching yoga. Some of you even know that I've used the practices of yoga to heal myself in many ways - as a child I suffered with anxiety and depression, and was seeking a way to heal and grow naturally. I was lucky enough to find yoga and I'm even luckier to be making my life around sharing with others.

One of the biggest ways I share is through my involvement with an organization called The Lineage Project, which is a local New York City based yoga initiative aimed at bringing yoga and meditation to incarcerated and otherwise at risk youth. Living in relative privilege in NYC, I went to a public high school and public university and experienced first-hand what happens to children who grow up in home environments that are unsupportive and malnourishing (physically, mentally, spiritually), and I know that these children have so few opportunities available beyond the boundaries of their lives. The Lineage Project is a small non-profit organization that works in schools, prisons, and other facilities to teach the practices of mindful living and self-empowerment to disenfranchised youth to break the cycle of poverty, violence, and incarceration.

While I do not personally teach for or work for the Lineage Project, I'm a supporter and a great advocate, and many of my friends and teachers do teach for them. I've been involved in supporting Lineage almost as long as I've been teaching yoga, because I know that while my work is best received from the community I work with (mostly women, prenatal, post-natal, premenopausal, and rehabilitation, in case you were wondering), I can't separate myself from knowing that EVERYONE deserves to access these practices, and if I can help, even in small ways, in the city I love and live in, then I will.

This year I'm inviting you to join me in supporting the Lineage Project. I have set a fundraising goal of $5000, not for any personal gain of my own, but so more children can be exposed to The Lineage Project. I am making this effort on behalf of a larger fundraising effort put together by my yoga studio, Laughing Lotus Yoga Center. This year, all donations made by Laughing Lotus to the Lineage Project will be matched twice - so if I can raise $5,000, I will actually be raising $15,000 to bring yoga to the under served communities of New York City. And that's $15,000 straight into the classrooms of these children- Laughing Lotus has partnered with Lineage this year and have arranged it so all funds raised through LLYC will go directly to increasing the number of classes in facilities.

I can't say for sure how yoga and meditation will affect the life of each individual child, but I can say that has changed my life for the better and it is my life's work to make sure others can benefit in the same way I have - or in even more significant ways. Lineage students have gone on to find their way to university when they never thought it possible, out of prison and socially rehabilitated when they never thought it possible, all through the simple magic of learning to practice living a mindful life.

If you're interested in learning more about the incredible work of The Lineage Project, please visit their website (http://www.lineageproject.org/about/) - see the kids, read the stories, and help us help them!

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Ilana Zaken

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Ilana is working on selecting a charity so you can support Lineage Project Fundraiser.