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It’s so important to have something to believe in. No matter what our work may be, giving back is a way to support those in need. One such company that is doing their part a quite an impactful way for both consumers and artists is PORTRAITS FOR GOOD, an online gallery that sells artwork and prints while simultaneously donating to the charity of your choice.
Created by Alix Greenberg who realized that while artists have long stood for important causes, they lacked a way to directly impact the causes that mattered to them most. She created PORTRAITS FOR GOOD, a unique business that donates proceeds from every purchase to a non-profit of the customer’s choice. Since launching the site, PORTRAITS FOR GOOD has helped support organizations like JDRF, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and ASPCA.
Not only an incredible way to give back, you can expect to receive a beautiful print or painting that arrives wrapped, framed, and ready to hang. To get started, customers choose a limited-edition print or commission a custom piece from one of their artists, then choosing a charity of their choice from which a portion of the proceeds will go towards. To learn more about this company and how it works, we spoke with Alix Greenberg who shared more about how the idea started and her goals for the future of PORTRAITS FOR GOOD.
Interview with Portraits for Good Founder, Alix Greenberg
Wellness Patterns: How did the idea of Portraits for Good come about?
Alix Greenberg: A few years ago I realized that, while artists have long stood for important causes, they’ve lacked a way to directly impact the causes that mattered to them most. I created PORTRAITS FOR GOOD; in 2015 a unique business that donates 10% of proceeds from every purchase to a non-profit of the customer’s choice. Since launching the site, PORTRAITS FOR GOOD® has helped support organizations like CodePurple Now, JDRF, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and ASPCA.
Wellness Patterns: Why was it important for you to tie in a charitable component to your company? How do you pick the charities you want to work with?
Alix Greenberg: The first part of this question is answered above! It started with me picking my favorite charities, and as I brought artists on, and more customers purchased, they also had ideas of charities to add. I am happy to add non-profits locally and abroad as long as they are benefiting us for good.
Wellness Patterns: How do you select the artists to work with?
Alix Greenberg: PORTRAITS FOR GOOD partners with several artists who create original art or limited edition prints that showcase their unique artistic style. Since this is a fine art venture, I carefully acquire artists who have a strong aesthetic style and based on their social media presence. The site is curated and as I grow the business, I plan on bringing on 1-2 artists a day, then more! I want to make sure the site is showcasing the best.
Wellness Patterns: How does the process work to purchase a piece of art?
Alix Greenberg: It’s easy!
1. Customers pick an artist from the “Artists For Good” dropdown menu and view the selection of limited-edition prints or upload an image and commission the artist to create a customized piece.
2. At checkout, consumers can choose their cause from a dropdown menu of numerous charities we partner with and have donated to in the past. Consumers who want to give to an organization not currently offered on the site, can contact us and we’ll happily add it as long as it is a 501(c)3!
3. Once purchased, the art will be delivered framed and display ready!
Wellness Patterns: What are some of your goals for the future of Portraits for Good?
Alix Greenberg: I am currently scaling the business and will be relaunching a brand new website in a few months optimized to bring on more artists and more charities – I want to bring 1-2 artists a day to start! I see this as a platform that aggregates both professional and dabblers alike and sells their work to charitably minded individuals. It will remain that PORTRAITS FOR GOOD is the seller and is the operational, shipping hub!
For more information, please visit:PORTRAITS FOR GOOD
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Running is powerful form of exercise. In the great game of you vs. you, it’s all about the strength, power and focus that comes from within. Fellow New Yorker, Jay Asparro will be embarking on these challenges when he will run a collective 75 miles this November (48.8 miles from Jones Beach to Teddy Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay and the next morning he will run 26.2 miles at the New York City Marathon). This intense endeavor is driven by his passion to raise money for The Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation, a disease his grandmother, Ann, battles everyday. Last year he completed this same run, finishing 90 miles, tired yet inspired by how the awareness of his run had raised $38,000 for the Foundation. This year, the 75 miles represents what would have been his grandparent’s 75th wedding anniversary. Leading up to the run, Jay partners with local business to help raise money and awareness for his cause. This has included family bowling events to selling purple bagels at a Long Island based deli to the first annual Ann Asparro 5K. We had the pleasure to learn more about this run and the incredible cause during our recent interview with Jay. Read on to check out more about him and his cause-driven run.
Interview with Jay Asparro on Running, Causes and Inspiration
Wellness Patterns: How did the idea to raise money through running come about? Why running?
Jay Asparro: I feel as though most people do not like running. If I am going to run an Ultra-Marathon, I believe I’ll be able to grab the attention of these people. Everyone knows the NYC Marathon but I don’t think anyone has heard of someone running 48.8 miles the day before the marathon. Then there are those people who love running. Most do not run more than a marathon, so I felt with an Ultra-Marathon, I could grab the attention of these people as well.
Wellness Patterns: Your goal is 75 miles for this upcoming goal! How do you train for that?
Jay Asparro: I’ll be running 48.8 miles on Sat. Nov. 4th and 26.2 miles on Sun. Nov. 5th at the NYC Marathon. I hired my running coach, Patrick Hammond, from Educated Running and he puts my running schedule together for me. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle in March and have a torn ligament in my ankle. So I swim, bike, and take hot yoga classes on top of my running 4x a week.
For recovery purposes, I take Epsom salt baths, go to Cryotherapy at Cryofit in Syosset, NY, go to Physical Therapy, get massages, and I do push-ups, sit-ups, stretch and roll everyday.
Nutrition is extremely important as well. So I’m constantly on top of my food intake eating good carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes), protein (chicken and fish) and drinking at least 100 oz of water a day.
Wellness Patterns: What has been the reaction to your run?
Jay Asparro: When I tell people about my 75 mile run, their eyes get big and they tell me I’m crazy. Then I explain to them that I am running in honor of my grandmother to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, then they understand. 90% of the time I tell someone I’m running to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, they begin to tell me someone they know who is living with Alzheimer’s.
As for media attention, I believe it is still too early to get their attention. I’m hoping when the run gets closer- TV, Radio, and any other media outlets will give me an opportunity to speak about Alzheimer’s and the impact it has had on my family.
Wellness Patterns: Why was it important for you to do this for your Grandmother?
Jay Asparro: Unfortunately, my grandmother doesn’t know who I am anymore. I know who my grandmother is and I refuse to have Alzheimer’s define my grandmother’s life. My grandmother lived with Faith, Joy and Love for her Family. That is what I run for and I always appreciate an opportunity to talk about my grandmother. She has three sons, who married three great women, she has seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren that she loves and is very proud of. I run all of these miles with love for my grandmother and my family.
Wellness Patterns: What’s something you’ve learned first-hand about Alzheimer’s?
Jay Asparro: I’ve seen the toll it takes on the caregivers. My parents, Aunt and Uncle are the caregivers for my grandmother. I also run for them because I know how much they have sacrificed to be there for my grandmother everyday. Their strength and love for my grandmother is something that helps me train when I don’t want to train.
Again, when I talk to people about Alzheimer’s, I’ve met caregivers and I see the stress and pain they have gone through or going through. I not only run for my family but I run for families living with Alzheimer’ and families who have lived through Alzheimer’s.
Wellness Patterns: How can someone help out if they aren’t a runner?
Jay Asparro: I’m raising money for the Long Island Alzheimer’s foundation, so donations would be greatly appreciated. They can go to www.theannasparrorun.com and click on the donate link. If people want to help me promote the run, that would be great as well. They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is more information about the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation:
For 29 years, LIAF has been providing supportive community-based services to Alzheimer’s families on Long Island. LIAF offers critically needed social adult day programs for individuals facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers. LIAF takes considerable pride in its pioneering role in the development of cutting edge services that foster the independence, dignity, well-being and safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s. LIAF is pleased to announce that the organization’s headquarters have relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility at 1025 Old Country Road in Westbury. The more centrally-located facility will provide the opportunity to bring services and programs more easily to those who need them. A special community open house and grand opening celebration is planned for spring 2017. For information call (516) 767-6856 or visit www.liaf.org.
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Did you know that there are more than 20 million people who practice yoga? This includes more than a dozen disciplines such as Iyengar yoga that can be confusing and overwhelming when you’re first starting out or looking for something new. This practice focuses on precision and alignment through focus, attention and controlling your breathing. Yoga teacher, Carrie Owerko, a certified Yoga Therapist, Laban Movement Analyst and Senior level Iyengar teacher, has been teaching and exploring the relationship between body, breath and mind for several years so we were excited to speak with her to learn more about her background and what is really involved in the practice of Iyengar yoga.
Interview with Carrie Owerko on Iyengar Yoga
Wellness Patterns: How did you get started in yoga?
Carrie Owerko: I began my daily yoga practice over 20 years ago. I was working in a Movement Theater company in NYC and was curious about the body/breath based meditative practices of yoga. After leaving the theater, I began studying Laban Movement Analysis at the laban Institute of Movement Studies In NYC and continued my yoga practice. My yoga practice is where I felt most integrated.
Wellness Patterns: Why do you think yoga is an important practice for people to try?
Carrie Owerko: I think yoga, especially Iyengar Yoga, is primarily about cultivating greater levels of awareness. It is about developing presence and the ability to engage with life’s joys and difficulties with the whole of oneself. That wholeness includes the body, the breath, the mind, the emotions, the intellect, the imagination. The practice of yoga helps develop this sense of integration. It also develops our capacity for variability. We become better able to adapt to the many variables, or curve balls, that life seems to throw at us.
Wellness Patterns: How often should you practice?
Carrie Owerko: As for practice, it is most effective as a daily endeavor. It doesn’t have to be long–even 15 minutes can do wonders–but consis: tency is really important.
Wellness Patterns: What is Iyengar yoga?
Carrie Owerko: Iyengar yoga is an approach created by the late BKS Iyengar of Pune, India. This approach is known for it’s attention to alignment, the creative use of props such as blocks, chairs, belts, etc., and a high degree of focus and attention. It is also know as an inherently therapeutic practice. BKS Iyengar’s work in therapeutic yoga is highly respected in the larger yoga community.
Wellness Patterns: How can someone can started with Iyengar yoga? Any tips?
Carrie Owerko: There are Iyengar Yoga classes available in many gyms and yoga centers all over the country. There are also classes and courses available online. I have one called Iyengar 101 with Yoga Journal, which is currently available. My approach to Iyengar yoga is playful. I am influenced by my study of Laban Movement Analysis, an ongoing study of biomechanics as well as my time in movement theater. I believe deeply in the power of play as a invaluable approach to learning anything. I feel it makes the disciplined practice of yoga more enjoyable and sustainable.
Check out more about Carrie here: http://www.carrieowerko.com/
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