Tag Archives: Community

5K in Portsmouth To Support Children’s Museum Virginia

The Bunny Hop 5K & 1 Mile Family Fun Run is coming up this Saturday, March 25, 2017. The event will take place in Portsmouth, Va., with registration opening at 7 a.m. at the Portsmouth Pavilion.

This will be the 3rd year for the Bunny Hop event, with proceeds going towards the Children’s Museum of Virginia. Most of the earnings go towards maintaining the museum’s exhibits. Stephen Corving, the unofficial race director, and one of five board members that volunteer for the event said “we encourage kids to play with the exhibits, so you can imagine the work to maintain them.”

The family fun run begins at 8 a.m., and the 5K begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by fun activities for the children including face painting and balloon animals. Food will be provided by Chick-fil-a, and beer will be available for adults. The events will begin wrapping up at 11 a.m.

Stephen says to save your race bib to get free admission into the museum. The admission is good to be used one time between race day and April 15.

To sign up for the event, click here.

For directions to the Pavilion, click here.

Women, Wine, and Self Defense Class to Help Women’s Confidence

The 2016 Fall edition report by The American Association of University Women (AAUW),  shows us that in 2015, women working full time were paid 20% less than men. That equates to a woman making 80 cents for every dollar a man makes.

This ongoing issue of gender inequality is one of the reasons Angela Meyer started teaching the Women, Wine, and Self Defense class in Washington D.C.  Angela gathers anywhere between 10-30 women on the first Friday of the month at the 202strong gym in the Farragut West neighborhood of Washington D.C to teach them to be comfortable in their own skin and to be safer.

“My whole life I have worked for women’s rights and have a strong passion towards women and men working together to change current structures,” the 10 plus year yoga veteran said about why she teaches the class.

“We have come such a long way in our world towards women being treated as human beings, not objects, and yet we still have SO far to go.”

“I want to stand with and for women, not as competition, but as a movement to say NO to being treated as objects and YES to being our own heroes.  I am also a huge believer in community, so bringing together Women, Wine and Self Defense seemed like a no brainer,” says Angela who has been doing Krav Maga training for the past six years.

The class is $20.00, and includes wine after the lesson. Do your part to build the movement of strong women by taking the class, or encouraging women you know to sign up for a self-defense course in their area.

Local Instructor Gives Back to the Community with Free Yoga Classes

Local Instructor Gives Back to the Community with Free Yoga Classes from Jillian Knight on Vimeo.

Nya Alemayhu, an experienced yoga instructor in Washington D.C., offers free yoga classes on Sundays at S3 Active, a sportswear store in Union Market. The idea to have free classes came to her after realizing the price of yoga instruction was becoming very expensive.

A dozen students showed up to practice with Nya at S3 Active on Sunday, December 11th, in Washington D.C. Photo by Jillian Knight

Nya has been practicing since 2004. Her instructors had given her the motivation to take the teacher’s training course, and once completed, she knew she wanted to be an instructor.

“It’s the pillar of my life, it’s just a template to be a better person,” she said when discussing what yoga means to her in her life.

Originally at Dock5 when she started the free class journey, Nya said it was supposed to be just a 30-day pilot period, but it’s been over two years.

Nya holds her free class on Sundays at S3 Active, in the Union Market area of 5th street in Washington D.C. Photo by Jillian Knight

The room she holds her class in is often used for whatever pops up in the workout world, such as boot camps or yoga.

When discussing modern practices like hot yoga, or Barre, Nya said she enjoys the slower paced world of classic yoga. “I like things slow, and I like things safe, that doesn’t’ mean I don’t like them challenging, it just means that I don’t have the desire to be in a 100-degree room, sweating and moving so fast that I don’t know what’s happening and I can’t control my breath.”

She says that type of workout actually causes her more stress and defeats the purpose of having a clam practice.

“People that gravitate towards that kind of yoga practice are athletic and see it has a workout instead of a lifestyle.”

Students practice with Nya in a room at S3 Active that is used for various workouts, like yoga or bootcamp classes. Photo by Jillian Knight

“Yoga itself as a lifestyle, as a practice, is good for everyone,” says the experienced teacher when discussing who benefits the most from yoga.

Many students said they simply put “free yoga” into a search engine, and Nya’s class came up, so she is able to serve the community in Washington D.C. by helping them save some money and practice yoga.

Nya can be followed on Facebook or Instagram, and more information on her background and practice can be found on her personal website.

Take Your Workout Outside to Relieve Stress and Lower Blood Pressure

Almost every exercise picture on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter probably shows you someone doing Yoga or some form of exercise outside. Even in colder weather, people enjoy taking their mats to their surrounding environment to reap the benefits of being outside.

Yoga Journal defines yoga as a union. A union meaning the joining of two or more elements. Yoga is the practice of balancing yourself, and aligning your chakras through various poses and meditation, so it seems valid to see so many people going outside to achieve harmony and joining various elements.

A typical backyard offers simple benefits such as fresh air to make your workout more enjoyable. Photograph taken by Jillian Knight

Yelena Moroz Alpert from Yoga Journal wrote an article about the benefits of doing yoga outside. Some of those benefits included replenishing depleted energy, heightened awareness from the natural scenery, and boosting meditation benefits.

Yoga Weekly discusses the benefits of doing yoga in water, such as added resistance and improved flexibility. Besides the peaceful sounds that come from the wind in the trees, or the movement of the water, exercising in the woods offers clean oxygen, and exercising in the water offers heart benefits, such as low blood pressure.

Business Insider published the scientific benefits of being outside. Among the eleven benefits were improved mental health, especially combined with exercise, immune system boost, possible anti-cancer effects, better vision, and reduced inflammation. An interesting benefit was the last one where researchers explained people who lived near green spaces recovered from stress, and were encouraged by physical activity, which therefore reduced the risk of early death.

Local parks such as this one offers the benefit of scenery to relieve stress as you walk your dogs, do yoga under a tree, or jog along the path. Photograph taken by Jillian Knight

Yoga isn’t the only exercise you will see outside in the warmer season. The new fitness fad Barre, is starting to take classes to the outdoors. Barre fitness is a mixture of yoga, ballet, and Pilates, using a stationary barre as a prop to enhance the workout. People are incorporating yoga and Pilates with many outdoors experiences, such as paddle boarding in Maine. It won’t be long until Barre fitness is incorporated into hiking clubs or water aquatics.

For more information on places to exercise outside, visit your local Department of Parks and Recreation’s website. 

For motivation, join a local running club or yoga studio, or use Twitter to follow people like @YogaLoveSpirit, @placestoyoga, or @Purre_Barre.

As the Leaves in Washington D.C. Fall, so does the Enthusiasm to Fight Zika

Since the 2016 Olympics in August, Zika has been slowly fading from the public’s eye. In July, the House passed the Zika Response Appropriation Act, which is now waiting for the Senate’s approval, but doesn’t look like it will be addressed until next year, according to Dr. Nathan Paxton, a Professorial Lecturer at American University’s School of International Service.

For now, Dr. Paxton, who studies global and public health, is just making a lot of phone calls to gather information.

Just this summer, Capitol Hill had a sighting of Zika carrying mosquitoes, but wasn’t made a huge issue with the upcoming winter months hopefully killing off all of the mosquitoes.

Photo by Michael Daly/ The Daily Beast. A birdbath pictured in Washington D.C., was believed to hold Zika carrying mosquitoes.


Staying current on what we’ve learned about Zika will help those who live in warmer climates, like Florida, or are planning to travel to places where Zika has continued to be an issue.

Infogram taken from public domain at iStock.com


Jill Christmas, an experienced traveler and hiker, often escapes the city life to enjoy a warmer climate. Her upcoming trip is to Argentina, where she says, “Zika is always in the back of my mind.” She said she was given the extensive run down of Zika before her last trip to South America earlier this year, but because she’s not planning on having children anytime soon, she’s not overly worried.

Infogram taken from public domain at iStock.com

Dr. Paxton says that Zika is dangerous for three reasons.

“First, it’s hard to detect, we have tests that can now detect it, but they’re not normal,” meaning it’s not a routine test and can’t be given to everyone because the resources aren’t available.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

“Second, it’s the transmission method, anywhere on the East Coast, we know what it’s like, I mean we spend all of our Summers with Mosquitoes, most of us can’t tell if they’re sort of normal mosquitoes we have, or Aedes aegypti,” says Nathan Paxton, on why Zika is dangerous.

The third thing that makes Zika dangerous is that it is also sexually transmitted, which Nathan says is the first mosquito driven disease he is aware of that can be transmitted this way.

One of the side effects of Zika is babies being born with Microcephaly, a birth defect which causes the babies to have smaller heads.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images. A child born in Brazil with Microcephaly.
Photo by Felipe Dana / The Associated Press.

For more information, visit the CDC’s website on Zika.

Street Performer Draws Crowd Outside of Gallery Place Metro Station

Street performers in Washington D.C. seem lucky to have a few people stopping to drop a dollar or two in, but to draw a crowd is a tremendous feat. For Vanny, the crowd and the attention is fairly normal.

“You’re so amazing,” was the common phrase of people complimenting the performer as she was unplugging her equipment. One woman standing next to Vanny couldn’t stop complimenting the artist on her talent and beauty.

Vanny, short for Vanessa, has been singing and playing music since she was 11-years old. Being homeschooled her Senior year of High School allowed her the time to practice online and further her musical talent.

“When I got to my Senior in High School, and I had all of that free time, I just encouraged my Dad to come with me out here and to just start playing guitar.” Said Vanny, who has been busking for two years now.

Vanny playing outside of Gallery PL/Chinatown Station on Friday, November 4th, 2016.

In regards to her experience performing, she says, “for the most part, it’s a crazy experience, dealing with the public, anything can happen.”

Vanny says that every now and then someone will harass her and disrupt the scene, but for the most part it’s people who want to compliment her, book her, or just simply tip.

Vanny can be seen outside of the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station on the red line in Washington D.C. She says she performs mostly on the weekends because she’s in school and has homework.

Vanny is available to play at restaurants, birthday parties, or any event that could be made better with Vanny’s amazing voice.

A Week After the Grand Opening, What’s In Store at the new REI Flagship?

Employees of the new REI Flagship stand outside to cheer on the first customers to the store during the Grand Opening celebration on October 21st, 2016 in Washington D.C.

It has been a week since the 5th Flagship for the REI Co-Op opened in Washington D.C, and according to the General Manager, Becky Smith, the three-day block party exceeded her expectations.

When discussing the successful weekend, Becky had this to say of her experience.

“It was amazing to see the people come into the store and simply step back and say, “Wow!”. The lines of people waiting to check-out, engage with our vendors, talk to our Adventure Station or simply get a cup of coffee was indicative of what our goal was: bring together a sense of community and a place for people to dream about new adventures.” Said Becky Smith, the new General Manager for the D.C. Flagship.

The grand opening celebration of the store has faded, but their mark on the community is just starting.

One of the main attractions is the bike shop at the front of the store at the REI Flagship in Washington D.C.

The new Flagship is located on the Metropolitan Branch Trail by Noma-Galluadet Metro Station.  The bike shop at the front of the store makes it easy for cyclists to bring their bike in for a quick repair.

Information from Infographic gathered from The Washington Post


The many bike racks at the front of the store accommodate the biking community in Washington D.C.
The enclosed outdoor space is where trained specialists will be holding classes at the new REI Flagship in Washington D.C.

Members of the Co-Op and the community are able to sign up for classes, such as paddling, climbing, or hiking, to prepare them for a better experience outside.

The outdoor space also serves as a sitting area to enjoy coffee from La Colombe at the new REI Flagship in Washington D.C.

REI gives back to the community in a big way, as mentioned by the GM, Becky Smith, in last week’s article. Whether it be cleaning up trails in a park, or donating thousands to local non-profits, like WABA, REI is doing their part to make a positive impact on the Washington D.C. community.

For more information on REI Flagship in Washington D.C. and their contributions, visit their website.

GM Opens REI’s Fifth Flagship for the Co-op in Washington D.C.

GM Opens REI’s Fifth Flagship for the Co-op in Washington D.C. from Jillian Knight on Vimeo.


REI, which stands for Recreational Equipment Inc., opened its 5th Flagship this weekend with a three-day block party celebration. The events were open to the public and included marching bands, outdoor classes, screen printings, live bands and DJs all weekend long, and of course, a webbing cutting by the store’s GM.

Becky Smith, the General Manager for the new Flagship was beyond excited to be opening this Flagship in the historical arena that it once was.

“This building is just a really incredible example of architecture that was back in the 40’s, and we’ve been able to really keep some of those original elements in the space,” says Becky Smith, who has been with REI for ten years as of August 21st.  “You see the arches from the outside of the it, and then when you come into our space, you still get a sense of some those old features that we have. We’re able to recover some of the old basketball flooring from where the Harlem Globetrotters played on this court, we’re able to keep some of the old stadium style seating, kind of up on a wall.”

On the wall of the Co-op are all of the concerts the building hosted in the 60s and 70s.
The original stadium seating from the arena was preserved on the wall of the store to show the history of the building. The people that sat in these seats saw the first concert The Beatles ever played in the U.S.


The building isn’t the only thing Becky is excited about sharing with the community. As far as the impact on the  DC community, she had this to say about how REI plans to leave its mark.

“REI gives back big time to the DC community, so this year alone, we’ll give over 1 million dollars to local and national non profits that are headquartered here in the DC area, so absolutely an amazing example of that. On a more local level, just a few weeks ago we took 84 of our new inspired guides out to Fort Dupont, worked side by side with members of the National Park to clean up some of trails.”

Each day started with hundreds of people lining up  early in the morning to get in as soon as the doors opened. The first 500 each day received water bottles with gift cards inside of them. The three day block party proved that people are excited to have an REI in their DC community.

For more information, or to find an REI closest to you, visit their website.

Back to the Basics of Social Interaction with Board Games

Back to the Basics of Social Interaction with Board Games from Jillian Knight on Vimeo.

Board games are making a come back. So much so, that a local German Cultural Center is celebrating the popularity of German board games with board game evenings.

This past Friday, October 14th, 2016, the Goethe-Institut in Washington D.C. hosted an evening of board games, wine, snacks, and social interaction. Anyone who wanted to participate was welcome to join for a fee of $5.00. Over 40 people eventually showed up to enjoy the event.

Norma Broadwater is the Public Relations Coordinator for the Goethe-Institut, and she got the idea for a game evening after visiting a store that informed her that the most popular board games come from Germany.

“It was kind of a revelation to me, so I thought well, wouldn’t that be fun to present that to others,” says Norma, who has been with the Goethe-Institut for almost 15 years.

She says what she likes about the evening is it brings together people from both Germany and the U.S.

With the help of Ben and Evan, owners of the game store Labyrinth, Norma has been able to make the experience more enjoyable.

Ben and Evan have been hooked on board games for years, so their expertise allows them to teach the instructions of many complex games including Settlers of Catan, Carrassonne, The Downfall of Pompeii, Camels Up, Karuba, and Hanabi.

With the help of Ben and Evan, Norma and the staff at the Geothe-Institut have set up an experience that offers numerous health benefits from playing board games. The most important one being, it makes us happy.

“Between the game store folks being very good at explaining and people just being very welcoming,” says Norma, “there have been a lot of friendships formed and by the end of the evening people aren’t really wanting to leave, and there’s a very happy sound throughout the space.”

For more information on the Goethe-Institut’s events, visit their website.

For more information on Ben and Evan, visit their game store on Pennsylvania Ave. in  Washington D.C., or their website.

Hundreds Run Ahead of Death at the Historic Congressional Cemetery

Hundreds Run Ahead of Death at the Historic Congressional Cemetery from Jillian Knight on Vimeo.


WASHINGTON D.C.- Hundreds gathered at the Historic Congressional Cemetery on October 1st, 2016 for the annual Dead Man’s Run 5K event in Washington D.C.’s Capitol Hill.

People from neighboring communities gathered at the cemetery, many dressed in Halloween costumes, to have some fun and support the preservation of the 209-year-old historic cemetery.

The headstone of Bobby Dempsey buried at the Historic Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

More than 300 people signed up to participate and support one of the oldest institutions in D.C. Many kids also showed up to run the 3.12 mile race through the cemetery, showing their abundance of energy is helping them stay healthy. If they weren’t up for the challenge, a kids’ fun run started five minutes after the 5K at 6pm.

All runners received a Dead Man’s Run 5K T-Shirt for their participation in the race on October 1st, 2016 at the Historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington D.C.

Activities before the race included a DJ playing music for people to dance and warm up to, and a bubble machine for kids. The after race activities included a beer tent for all 21 and over participants.

The first place winner was Desta Morkama of Arlington, VA with a time of just over 17 minutes.

For more information on the cemetery and its upcoming events, visit their website.