Nathalie’s one word for 2015 is attend. I know she’s the one who authored a long, thoughtful post about it but her words resonate so well with me that I almost feel some ownership over them too. At the least I am happy to ride on her coattails. I want to attend and care for myself, and I want to get out and try some new things, and so far these two impulses have been quite complementary.
Most recently I accepted an invitation to attend Beats and Balance, which begins lululemon‘s involvement with The Remix Project, whose educational programs assist under-serviced youth from marginalized communities enter the creative industries. lululemon hosted four fitness classes two hours apart at impressive Arcadian Court, paired with unusual live musical performances, with all proceeds going to The Remix Project.
Enlisting my sister as company, I attended this event with little sense of what to expect. Mostly I knew there would be yoga, and that it would be a unique way to get on the mat.
We rolled out our mats with hundreds of other people, under the vibrant purple lights illuminating all of Arcadian Court. It was difficult to see the instructor but we managed to get along, and it really was a memorable class – there was something in the air from sharing a practice with so many people.
The practice closed with an aria by an opera singer without accompaniment – it was all a bit surreal. The delicious and healthy lunch that followed helped bring us gently back down to reality.
Good times continued as I got to talk to Ricky Bekzadeh, Director of Programming at The Remix Project and learn more about their alternative education program. They’re able to accept 45 young people (of 350 applicants) for a 9 months semester in one of four areas: Recording, Business, Creative, and Film & Television Arts. Courses are led by industry professionals, and students also attend mandatory monthly workshops on diverse topics including resume building, social media, business ethics, branding, and financial literacy. Some graduates pursue their education further, others get internships or jobs.
Their application process bears mention: they interview everyone who submits an application (which can be done online). This approach acknowledges that a disadvantaged but excellent applicant’s potential can be difficult to identify on paper. Criteria for the program is three-fold: need, determination/drive, and talent.
It sounds like a program doing great things, and Natalie Westlake from lululemon explained that the company wanted to support it. lululemon will also further this connection by providing instructors to The Remix Project students over the next year.
My efforts to “attend” worked – I learned about this promising educational program and its partnership with lululemon, met some interesting people, had a rare experience in the city, and did my body a very nice turn. Getting out does have its rewards.
Photo credit: @botcomm