0 comments on “Happy InternetGeek Tuesday: Using My Digital Presence for Social Good & Zuri Works”

Happy InternetGeek Tuesday: Using My Digital Presence for Social Good & Zuri Works

Photo Credit: ZuriWorks.org
Photo Credit: ZuriWorks.org

Happy Internet Tuesday!

Today’s blog discusses how I use my digital presence for social good and to support Zuri Works for Women’s Health, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that creates national beauty, arts, and health programs that enhance the quality of life, improve their survivorship rates, and increase the health knowledge of women of color impacted by cancer.  Click here to listen to my audio blog which includes a short excerpt from my new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (available on Amazon).

Zuri Works founder Andrene Taylor (in pink shirt) and her Zuri Works team; Photo Credit: ZuriWorks.org
Zuri Works founder Andrene Taylor (in pink shirt) and her Zuri Works team; Photo Credit: ZuriWorks.org

Through its founder Andrene Taylor, a three-time cancer survivor and “THRIVER, Zuri Works does four things:

  • Empower women to prioritize their self care.
  • Collaborate, share knowledge, and partner with individuals, communities, and organizations committed to finding solutions to address cancer’s impact on the vulnerable populations we serve.
  • Develop creative, new ideas that address common and unique problems  of women in order to increase their use of screening, reduce their delays in treatment, and improve their cancer survival rates.
  • Use evidence-based solutions to engage women about their health and address health care disparities in their communities.
Photo Credit: ZuriWorks.org
Photo Credit: ZuriWorks.org

My Connection to Cancer and Why I Love and Support Zuri Works

I love the meaning of Zuri. It is a Swahili word that means beautiful. It reminds me of my beautiful, bold, and brilliant grandmothers, Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin (“Nanan”) and Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke (“Freddie). They both lived with breast cancer. A few years after my grandmother Freddie died of breast cancer, I searched for ways to honor her memory through my wire sculpture artwork. In 2001, I discovered the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, a DC-based nonprofit health, education, and arts organization that develops and promotes healing practices that explore physical, emotional, and mental resources that lead to life-affirming changes for people affected by cancer. I started working as a Smith Center artist-in-residence in 2002.

Howard University Hospital
Howard University Hospital
Ananda working at HU Hospital in 2009
Ananda working at HU Hospital in 2009

My first artist-in-residency was at Howard University (HU) Hospital from 2003 to 2009.  During that time, I shared my gifts as an artist, poet, writer, Reiki practitioner, and yoga teacher with patients living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other illnesses.  I also conducted staff workshops with the HU Hospital nurses. Click here to read my Flickr blog and see photos of my work.

Interactive Breast Cancer Awareness Wall Collage at Walter Reed, 2012
Interactive Breast Cancer Awareness Wall Collage at Walter Reed, 2012

After my contract with HU Hospital ended, I began working with wounded warriors, their family and friends, patients, and staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. For the past two years, I have created interactive Breast Cancer Awareness Month wall collages (see 2012 collage above) for the Walter Reed staff to pay tribute to their family and friends impacted by breast cancer. Staff use the collage to write their thoughts about breast cancer and their loved ones.

Photo Credit: http://stephanieisfabulous.blogspot.com
Photo Credit: http://stephanieisfabulous.blogspot.com

In addition to my Smith Center artist-in-residence work, I have also taught yoga classes as a volunteer and used my digital presence to support social good campaigns like Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year, I was introduced to Zuri Works by Xina Eiland, my digital sister, PR coach, and publicist. I immediately fell in love with the organization’s mission and work right after I watched Andrene’s video about her cancer journey which began at 25 when she was a second year graduate student. Her story inspired me. Her cancer advocacy work that marries two of passions — health & art — moved me to donate a few hours of my coaching time to help Xina develop crowdfunding strategies for Zuri Work’s Indiegogo campaign.

Photo Credit: Indiegogo.com
Photo Credit: Indiegogo.com

The Indiegogo campaign will support The Exposures Project, a photo education exhibit shot by cancer survivors and THRIVERS which depicts survival stories of women that would otherwise go untold. Watch the powerful campaign video to learn more. I know you will be inspired like I was to give a financial donation. Click here today and make a donation before the campaign ends on October 24. Tell your family and friends to donate too!

Photo Credit: ZuriWorks.org
Photo Credit: ZuriWorks.org

This week, I get to show my love for Zuri Works in person at its Big Chop to Stop Cancer Anniversary Benefit. It will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at 1133 15th Street NW, Suite 1200 in DC. If you are in DC, join me for an absolutely fabulous event. Register here.

What’s Next for Me & Zuri Works

In a few weeks, I will launch my fundraising campaign for Zuri Works. It will invite my family, friends, Digital Sisterhood Network, clients, colleagues, and social media network to make a donation in honor of my December 18th birthday. Click here to learn how you can create a similar campaign.

0 comments on “Happy Yoga Monday – What is your definition of yoga?”

Happy Yoga Monday – What is your definition of yoga?

Ananda in her chakra-inspired home
Ananda in her chakra-inspired home

Happy Yoga Monday,

What does the word yoga mean to you?

When I was training to be a yoga teacher at Flow Yoga Center in 2005 and 2006, my teacher, Debra Perlson-Mishalove, gave the class a homework assignment to define yoga. Her assignment me to develop a YOGA acronym.

Y – Your

O – Opportunity to

G – Graciously

A – Accept yourself in the present moment.

I still use this acronym and definition in my classes and workshops.

pinkribbon

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am teaching the annual Frederica Leeke and Dorothy Gartin Breast Cancer Awareness Yoga Class on Sunday, October 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in Malcolm-Meridian Hill Park. Click here for more details. The kind and gentle yoga class honors my grandmothers who lived with breast cancer.

0 comments on “Join Ananda for Pink October Yoga, free online yoga classes for computer users on October 13, 20, and 27 from 8:15pm to 8:30pm.”

Join Ananda for Pink October Yoga, free online yoga classes for computer users on October 13, 20, and 27 from 8:15pm to 8:30pm.


Join me for Pink October Yoga, an online yoga class for computer users on 10/13 from 8:15 to 8:30pm EST. Click here to see the show live or watch a recording: http://www.stickam.com/anandaleek. Classes will also be offered on 10/20 and 10/27.

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0 comments on “Watch video about Ananda’s Pink October Yoga online classes for Breast Cancer Awareness Month”

Watch video about Ananda’s Pink October Yoga online classes for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

breastcanribbon1

Happy October!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For more information, visit the National Breast Cancer Awareness web site: http://www.nbcam.org.

Click on the video below to learn about my Pink October Yoga free online classes on October 6. 13. 20, and 27 from 8:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. You can take the classes online at www.stickam.com/anandaleeke.

On October 24 and 25, I will teach yoga classes from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The classes are offered as a part of the second annual Frederica Leeke and Dorothy Gartin Breast Cancer Awareness Yoga Weekend. These events honor the breast cancer journey of my grandmothers Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke (1915-1996) and Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin (1912-current).

The classes will meet by the waterfall that faces the reflecting pool located at the 16th Street and Florida Avenue, NW entrance. Participants should dress comfortably, refrain from eating and drinking two hours before the class, and bring their own mats. Yoga mats will NOT be provided. If it rains, the class will not be held. Click here for more information: http://yoga.meetup.com/584.

Enjoy your month!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

0 comments on “Ananda honors Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Pink October Yoga, online yoga classes and the 2nd annual Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke and Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin Breast Cancer Awareness Yoga Weekend”

Ananda honors Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Pink October Yoga, online yoga classes and the 2nd annual Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke and Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin Breast Cancer Awareness Yoga Weekend

 

brcancawaresign

Happy Early October!

I am  launching Pink October Yoga, an online yoga class series for computer users, on October 6, 13, 20, and 27 from 8:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Stickam.com to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month and my grandmothers Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke (1915 – 1996) and Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin (1912 – present).  Click here to take the class with a live stream and web chat discussions:  www.stickam.com/anandaleeke.  If you miss the live class, don’t panic. You will be able to watch a recording of the show.  To learn more about breast cancer, visit The National Women’s Health Center’s Breast Cancer web site: http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastcancer.

breastcanribbon1

My grandmother Frederica died of breast cancer in June 1996.  My grandmother Dorothy learned she had breast cancer at the age of 95 in 2008.  The news of my grandmother Dorothy’s her breast cancer made me want to do something for people impacted by breast cancer in my local community.

yogameetup

So I started the first annual Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke and Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin Breast Cancer Awareness Yoga Weekend in Malcolm X – Meridian Hill Park in Washington, D.C.  This year I am teaching two classes on October 24 and 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for the Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend.  Click here for more information: http://yoga.meetup.com/584.  If you are in the D.C. area, please join me for a kind and gentle yoga class dedicated to individuals impacted by breast cancer. 

I have included a webisode from Ananda Leeke TV that discusses Pink October Yoga as a form of Karma Yoga, the yoga of action in service to others.  Enjoy!

 

Thank you for stopping by!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda