October 26, 2012
In late 2011 I enthusiastically applied to volunteer with the Bridge of Diamonds yoga relief effort in Haiti. A few months later I was a member of 5 person team who travelled to Haiti to teach yoga to children who were both living in tent cities in addition to local children who resided in the small town outside of Port-au-Prince. This experience was invaluable, not only for the children, but for the Haitian adults who helped us run our program and for our team of volunteers. Bridge of Diamonds gave our team support to make this happen, as well as freedom to do it our way. All of our team members were yoga teachers in some capacity or another and we were eager to bring this gift of play, relaxation, and exercise to the people of Haiti. We played, sang, danced and did LOTS of yoga with more than 400 children that week. Bridge of Diamonds is working hard to recruit a team of volunteers to teach each month in Haiti that is not the rainy season (our yoga "studio" is a concrete slab outside). Bridge of Diamonds has also been working to train Haitian adults to teach yoga - and there are now weekly classes happening without any US volunteers! What an amazing effort and accomplishment. I highly recommend travelling with Bridge of Diamonds to Haiti, or supporting their efforts with a financial donation. If you would like to learn more, check out their website. Here's the personal reflection I wrote after my trip: http://yogakids.com/news-1/february-2012-haiti-reflections-natalie-dean
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