Area yoga students team up to send relief to Sierra Leone
TRI-CITY AREA — For some, the practice of yoga is a passport to the soul. Others turn to the discipline for balance and strength—with each practice as individual as the practitioner. So when a Rotary Global Passport club member meets pratitioners seeking their soul on the yoga mat, some amazing things occur.
Rotary club efforts aim to serve their communities, and likewise, yoga is also about giving back—to family, friends, and humankind. Whether it’s through mindful action, generosity of spirit or making donations of time, goods, and/or money, area yogis recently stepped up yet again to embody the giving spirit.
Rotary Global Passport member and retired veterinarian Dr. Jim Sillers has long been a yoga student, both in Dina Miramonti’s ‘Dina’s Yoga’ classes in Capac and the Peaceful Moon Yoga practice in Imlay City. The Rotary Global Passport program offers members an opportunity to get involved in community service as their schedule and budget allows. Meetings take place online, and specific clubs include people from a wide geographical range.
Sillers’ club—district 6330—stretches from Flint to Port Huron and up into Canada—where a fellow club member proposed a community service project for the people of Sierra Leone. The member has ties to the country, which has gone through numerous disasters over the past several years.
The most recent—in November of 2021—devastated the capital of Freetown when a fuel tanker collided with a lorry at a busy intersection, killing 144 people and injuring many more in a fiery explosion.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and without hospitals equipped with burn units, the accident was especially devastating. The Passport member in Canada wanted to help.
“During a Zoom meeting the member presented the program and provided detail,” Sillers says. “We decided to try to collect some items to send to the people of Sierra Leone.”
Armed with a list of needs that included clothing, shoes, household and personal care items, Sillers brought the request to fellow yoga students, who embraced it wholeheartedly.
Before the two week drive was over, yogis came to classes with arms full of items that were on the list.
“It was surprising to collect so much stuff in such a short time,” Sillers says. “The donations completely filled up my van. There was not one inch of space left.”
Last week, Sillers took the donations across the Blue Water Bridge on up to London, Ontario where they were sorted and sealed into boxes. From there, the boxes will be shipped off to Sierra Leone, where the much needed supplies will be distributed.
“It is so great that Jim brings the idea of philanthropy to the mat, something that’s really important to me,” Miramonti says. “It was wonderful to see so many students participate.”
Ditto for the students at Peaceful Moon Yoga. A large tub placed in the lobby was filled and emptied several times. Both practices are grateful to all who stepped up to make the drive a success.
A retired school teacher and administrator in the Almont School District, Miramonti has led ‘Dina’s Yoga’ practice for the past seven years. She holds classes in Almont, Capac and Dryden. For more information go to facebook.com/dina’syoga.
Peaceful Moon Yoga opened in Imlay City in 2017. A variety of classes including all levels are offered Monday-Saturday. For more information visit www.PeacefulMoonYoga.com or call/text 586-255-1275.
Dr. Jim Sillers has been active in the Imlay City area community for years. He is a strong advocate of philanthropy and giving back. He is a past recipient of Imlay City’s Citizen of the Year Award, and active in numerous community service organizations and projects. His volunteer efforts extend to caretaker of Imlay City’s butterfly garden, where his gardening expertise is appreciated by all who find respite there.
Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.