‘Yogathon’ takes aim at AIDS crisis in South Africa | AspenTimes.com

‘Yogathon’ takes aim at AIDS crisis in South Africa

Aaron Hedge
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

EL JEBEL – A local nonprofit group is looking to raise funds through yoga instruction this weekend to help combat South Africa’s AIDS crisis.

Dawn Dexter of Aspen, an active member of the yoga community, has organized a group of 12 yoga instructors; they are each trying to gather commitments from nine community members to dedicate time to reaching Dexter’s goal of $20,000 in fundraising.

That money would send Dexter to Cape Town, South Africa, where she said 1 in 4 people suffer from AIDS. Her operation, partially coordinated through an international yoga charity organization called Off the Mat, Into the World, or OTM, would focus on six projects.

Building and stocking a library for a Cape Town orphanage, coordinating a sexual education initiative and establishing a halfway house for children embroiled in the AIDS crisis are among the projects.

One Love Colorado will host a benefit on Saturday at the El Jebel Community Center from 3 to 6 p.m.

Each fundraising participant is asked to bring in $108 dollars in various ways, Dexter said.

“It’s not a price tag; it’s a service challenge,” she said.

Dexter said the efforts to fight the crisis are driven by a focus to improve victims’ overall quality of life, instead of just making sure they have enough food to make it through the next day without starving to death.

“It’s not just about putting out fires,” she said.

The yoga sessions on Saturday will focus on transferring the stability and consciousness that is emphasized by yoga enthusiasts to the charity effort. Dexter stressed that anyone is welcome at the event, even if they know nothing about yoga.

“You can think of it like a yogathon,” she said. People interested in attending can register at http://www.coloradoonelove.org or sign up Saturday starting at 2 p.m.

The participants are asked to gather donated items for a silent auction after the event, as well as cash donations to One Love Colorado. Anyone interested in donating can contact Dexter at (970) 379-9113.

OTM is an international nonprofit that, in recent years, raised more than $500,000 to help needy Cambodian children and $300,000 to raise awareness in South Africa about the AIDS crisis and apartheid.