Maynard resident John Calabria led a Yoga class last week to benefit SmileTrain, a charity focused solely on providing free cleft palate surgeries in developing nations. Now ten children will smile for the first time.
Calabria chose SmileTrain as the beneficiary of this Yoga fundraiser because 100% of all funds directly help children get a second chance at life; no one at SmileTrain collects wages. Mystic Fitness owner Amy Karibian generously donated the use of her Framingham Yoga studio for the event.
SmileTrain children, born disfigured, and into poverty have no little chance at a normal life. In many cases, they’re unable to talk, eat properly, or attend school. Hidden away, they suffer in silence and isolation. Now there’s a chance to help.
This modern-day medical miracle of cleft repair surgery costs $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes. It gives a desperate child not just a new smile, but a new life. SmileTrain has provided free cleft surgery for well over 300,000 children, and trained many doctors, native to their regions, to perform the surgeries.
"I’m so blessed with the most amazing students who went all-out in support of this benefit; we gathered for a yoga class and changed the lives of ten children,” noted Calabria.
The initial goal was to fill the Yoga studio and raise $500, enough for two surgeries. The donations started to trickle, then poured in. Many people came to the Yoga class, opened their hearts, and their wallets. With a generous pledge to round up the total to the next surgery level, a grand total of $2500 was raised. “I’m very happy with the outcome, and was not surprised. Yoga teaches us that true happiness can only come from helping others,” added Calabria.
Calabria believes, “Even if you don’t subscribe to the laws of Karma, when we give, at some level we are telling ourselves that we have more than enough. This feeling of internal abundance is very healthy for our psyche, especially in these challenging economic times.
Focusing on other’s needs gives us a break from worry and stress.” And he offers this challenge, “I’d like people to think about how many people they can make smile today. At the end of the day, count them up and email me your answer! Two free Yoga classes will be awarded to the person with the highest number.”
Calabria’s SmileTrain benefit was such a great success, he plans to offer another this fall. Visit www.YogaWithJohn.com
, to find out how you can help these children smile for the first time.
John Calabria is an ethical Vegan, world traveler, wellness educator, and Yoga instructor. He has been practicing meditation and Yoga techniques for more than 25 years. After a successful engineering career— the last few toiling in the diamond industry—John now helps people meet their wellness goals, find peace in their lives, and of course… smile. He works internationally to help people and animals in need, and serves on the board of Maple Farm Animal Sanctuary
. Calabria publishes a Yoga Blog.