Tag Archives: Give back

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.

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.

Augusta Boys and Girls Club Super Hero 5K in Capitol Park

Everyone has different reasons for signing up to run a 5K race.  For George Sprigg, from Bath, Maine, it is to beat his best time from over twenty years ago.

“I’m training to beat my personal best record when I was 20, just getting out of the Marine Corps, and I’m now 41.” George’s best time was 17:58. He was unable to beat that time at this race.

The 5K George participated in was for the Augusta Boys and Girls Club in Capitol Park this past weekend on September 10, 2016. People gathered in the Capitol of Maine to run the 3.12-mile race to help raise money to support the Boys and Girls  Club’s mission, which is to provide a safe place for teens in the area to learn and grow.

This was the 3rd annual Super Run for the Augusta Boys and Girls Club, where you are encouraged to dress up as your favorite superhero. Only 16 people showed up to participate in the race, but the majority of them had on a superhero t-shirt.

Each of the 16 participants at the Augusta Boys and Girls Club Super Run 5K at Capitol Park in Augusta, Maine received a super hero cape and a medal after finishing the race. The first place winner received two round trip tickets from Augusta to Boston via Cape Air.

The new Director for the Boys and Girls Club in Augusta, Charles Huerth, wearing a Captain America t-shirt, has only been there for a month, but he  has some ideas on what to do for the upcoming school year.  This year he’s hoping for some more educational type things to expand their minds.

“In the past what we’ve done, is we’ve gone to like Salem, Mass to see some museums and such,”  says Charles, “we’ve gone to some fun places like FunTown to kind of get them out and about and active, just trying some different things.”

Charles says there are also services available during the Summer to help maintain what they may be used to during the school year.

He says they try to supplement what they need during the school year such as the food pantry that the kids can utilize, and the back pack program.

The race started on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and followed the Kennebec Rail Trail along the Kennebec river. The first place winner received a pair of round trip plane tickets from Augusta to Boston, which first place winner George Sprigg happily accepted.

For more information on what the Boys and Girls Club is doing, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/augustateencenter


Maine Honors the State’s 95 Fallen Service Members Since 9/11 in Brunswick

The foundation, Maine Fallen Heroes, held its inaugural memorial run in Brunswick, Maine this past weekend at the Brunswick Recreation Center. An untimed 5K run/walk and a timed 10K were the main events honoring the fallen and their families.

The Maine Fallen Heroes Foundation took over the mission from Run for the Fallen, which was started nine years ago. The mission continues to help the families of the fallen with financial and emotional support. The MFHF’s website offers ways to contact people for support.

“Run for the Fallen went into retirement,” says Dean Barron, the President and Founder of the Maine Fallen Heroes Foundation, “and I decided to carry on the torch so to speak. The MFHF was formed in late 2015.”

Pictured: A Maine Veteran’s Biker Club volunteered to hold flags during the opening ceremony. Picture taken by Jillian Knight

Dean has a personal connection to the foundation that he took over. His son, CPL Joshua Barron, is his fallen hero.

Joshua and 94 other heroes had their pictures lining the 3.1-mile course on Saturday for people to see as they ran past. If the families of the fallen were present, then they had the choice to stand next to their hero if they didn’t want to participate in the race. Many people showed their appreciation by stopping and shaking hands with the family members who were present and giving their thanks for the fallen heroes’ service.

The event started at 9:00 a.m. with an opening ceremony and words from Adria Horn, Director of Maine’s Bureau of Veterans’ Services. “We are here because a very select few people donated their family to us, and those people became members of an exclusive club, a club that they didn’t want to join, a club that they joined without their permission, and often times without their knowledge.”

“These races are a great opportunity to bring the community together,” says Aviation Ordnanceman First Class Petty Officer Stephen Sterling of the United States Navy, “and honor the men and women who have served in the military and given their all.”

“It’s also a great way to promote physical fitness,” says the 12-year enlisted service member currently deployed on the USS Wasp.

The activities scheduled for the day included the 10K race that started at 10 a.m. and the 5K race that started at 10:15 a.m.  After those events, there was a lunch put on by the volunteers of the MFHF and activities for children, including a 70’ inflatable obstacle course.

“It’s a special day for many of us,” said Dean, “who have lost a son or a daughter, a father or a mother, aunt, uncle, what have you.”

Pictured: Staff Sgt Jessica M. Wing of Littleton, Maine. Jessica served 23 years in the Army and National Guard. Jessica is one of the 95 biographies along the 5K course. Picture taken by Jillian Knight.
Pictured: Staff Sgt Jessica M. Wing of Littleton, Maine. Jessica served 23 years in the Army and National Guard. Jessica is one of the 95 biographies along the 5K course. Picture taken by Jillian Knight

Hundreds of people showed up to run, support the families, and pay their respects to the fallen. Dozens of active duty service members were present, including the National Guard, who volunteered to help with parking, directions, and inflating the 70’ obstacle course.

The new Maine Fallen Heroes’ non-profit foundation is working hard to push forward with events for 2016. Dean Barron says that this event was the first of many to come, and will be an annual race event.

As far as the proceeds, Barron says, “all funds raised go directly to helping the families of our fallen. We also hand out (3) $1000 scholarships to the families of our fallen for college.”


For more information or to donate, please visit www.mainefallenheroes.org.

Summer Slam 5K at Mt. Trashmore, Saturday June 18th, to Benefit Team Hope




The t-shirt for the 2016 Summer Slam 5K


VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, June 12, 2016 – Road Rage Events is putting on their 3rd Annual Summer Slam 5K Run/Walk and Kids 1 Miler next Saturday, June 18th, at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach. The race is to benefit the National Parkinson Foundation; Team Hope.


The Summer Slam run/walk will be the first event of the 2016 summer for the Road Rage team, so come out and support a great cause and enjoy yourself. This will be the fourth race I have participated in with Road Rage and it’s always an impressive turnout. From jump houses for kids, to food trucks, and apparel venders, there is something to do for everyone. Especially in the summer, it is a great chance to get out early in the morning and get in some exercise before the sun gets too high.


The motto at Road Rage is ‘It’s all about happy runners & walkers’. The race directors at Road Rage Events are determined to have as many people happy and involved as possible in the events. Russ Turner, the founder, and one of the three race directors at Road Rage, says, “we also have runners that participate through our virtual package program anywhere in the U.S. This allows runners & walkers to join an actual event from far away.” They also allow participants to switch to the virtual option, so that they don’t miss out on the race, or receiving their shirt or medal, if they are unable to make the race.


For those that would like to participate, you can sign up on the registration page of the Road Rage Events website at http://www.roadrageevents.com/summer-slam.html. The Kids 1 Miler begins at 8am, and the 5K begins at 9am. Awards are to follow the 5K race. If you are going to sign up at the event, you should show up before hand.


About Road Rage Events:


Over the course of the year, there is typically one race a month. 6 events are held at Mt. Trashmore, 3 events are held at the Oceanfront Board Walk, 1 at Virginia Wesleyan College, and 1 in downtown Portsmouth. Each event has a different charity to benefit.


For more information about Road Rage Events, visit their website at www.roadrageevents.com


For more information and  directions to Mt. Trashmore, visit the Virginia Beach website at www.vbgov.com


For more information on Team Hope, visit their website at http://www.parkinson.org/get-involved/team-hope-for-parkinsons


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