Tag: Los Angeles

A very special community gift for a very special teacher.

Hello All,

Last week I was asked to help start a GoFundMe  page for a person I have never met.  She is a physical education teacher who through a series of life events now has debilitating back pain due to a spinal disc that has partially broken off.  Surgery is needed to alleviate the pain and start the healing, but due to red tape, her insurance company is denying or limiting much of the coverage she will need to pay for the “must have” medical procedures and after care.

I don’t want to make this article about insurance issues in our country, but rather how a community has come together in less than five days to donate a serious “chunk of change” to get Ms. Monica Wood back on her feet again. They have given her not only financial help but the gift of their love and community spirit.

Side note: I know the agony of back pain and my experiences have been nothing compared to what Monica is having to endure.  Read related blog. 

Monica Wood and I have communicated via good old fashioned texts and what I have learned is this is a vivacious woman who is beloved by the students, staff and parents at Grand View Elementary School in Manhattan Beach, California.   She exudes all the traits one needs for a  speedy recovery as she is hopeful and keeping a positive outlook. She also believes in not wasting a moment or wallowing on her situation as  she recently asked a group of friends about how to get connected with area organizations who  knit blankets for families with new babies.  Geez – that is one incredible woman!


Monica’s unique story is best told by the many comments and  photos that have been left on the walls of the GoFundMe campaign.  I am simply inspired by each and every one.  These days we are all so busy and focused on our own lives –  but, the outpouring of love and generosity to help this educator simply is a testimony to the willingness of community members to  stop everything  in order to help.  Not only are they demonstrating their support with their wallets, but also with their hearts and social sharing to others.  Those who are in social media call the act of social sharing: #SocialGood!

From the GoFundMe “Giving BACK to Monica Wood” campaign:

Monica, You are the best! Always positive, encouraging, and energetic. We are so sorry you are having such pain. We wish you a speedy recovery. Love, Kate, JT, Edie and David <B>


Ms. Wood- you were the first person to really see Brendan and to help him have happy time in school. You gave him a safe place and a teacher’s love. I’m so sorry you are going through this. You deserve the best of everything. ~ <B.P/>


We got your back, Monica!!!!!  ~ Kari



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Monica Wood has responded to all the amazing folks in her GoFundMe “sphere” with these words

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Lastly, I conclude this note to all with a video from the GoFundMe page and also my thanks to all for reading this very special story.



UPDATED: Yoga for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis – MS

This weekend the skies above the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles will be lighting up “orange”! The ballroom will be turned in to a huge party as the benefit for Erase MS  commences! While a night to join together in fellowship for a great cause, the weekend is really dedicated to highlighting the newest findings in research for MS diagnosis and treatment.  The Center Without Walls will be making huge announcements about a newly released and approved medication and much more. All of this made possible by the vision of Nancy Davis, founder of Erase MS and a woman living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Learn about MS here.

In another section  of Los Angeles county, DL Sweet will be helping improve the lives of people in another capacity.  For eight years she has been yoga instructor with a specialized instruction and certification for  Therapeutic & Restorative Yoga in 2013. But, DL didn’t stop there, she now offers “Chair Yoga” to people who are limited in movement and independent motor skills, such as those with MS.

Chair Yoga is not exclusive to those with physical limitations as seniors also are embracing chair yoga. And althouth not quite a “senior” I find myself being more and more intrigued!

Read why here.

UnknownNow here is where the story about DL get more fascinating! A few months ago I met DL at the Beach Cities Breakfast Club (BCBC)  morning network meeting. It was apparent that she had challenges with speech.  But, let me tell you this dynamo is not hindered by this “disability” but in fact able to communicate her vision quite clearly.  Each week she presents about her participation in the company Young Living Essential Oils, just fine! After learning more about DL’s personal story, it became apparent that her disability was a catalyst vs. a hinderance to her “next chapter”, including being a Yoga instructor!

When asked why DL started to learn and subsequently teach yoga she replied, “I sat in one class to MS individuals, so the teacher and I became good friends…  I have a disability of  <my> own, I can relate to what are people are going through.”   (Note: Come back to visit this blog for updates as to DL’s schedule for upcoming classes offered to MS patients, etc.)

Remember I said I was intrigued by chair yoga?! Well, that meant I had to do some research and find a way to check it out at home. I immediately stumbled upon DL’s Youtube videos.  Below is one that I watch on a regular basis (and yes, try to practice along with her!) Her videos are great for those who have limited resources for traveling to a class, are homebound or just interested – such as myself!


It would be great if DL’s chair yoga could reach more people who are seeking ways to exercise muscles in spite of limitations.  That is why I am hoping that when the skies over LA turn “orange” with the Erase MS benefit that there will be discussion for resources in the area for patients with MS.  I hope that conversation includes the amazing commitment and expertise that DL demonstrates in the field of yoga.

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When asked what are the next steps that DL plans on taking as a business owner and yoga instructor – she stated that she wants to expand  chair yoga programs to become available in workplaces and businesses where people are often seated for long periods of time and should get MOVING!  (Ok, time to get my yoga outfit on and sign up for DL’s class!)

Connect with DL:

ABOUT MS patients sign – up for chair yoga >> http://www.beachcitiesgym.org/news-events/classes/yoga-chairs-funded-ms-foundation




And, of course we invite you to check out the great work of Erase MS.

Disclaimer: Prior to starting any exercise program, such as that discussed in this article,  one should check with their healthcare provider to ensure that they are able to participate in the activity, such as chair yoga, regular yoga, etc.

This is a sponsored post for DL Sweet.

Celebrate the AVIVA CENTER this #GivingTuesday


This year I had the pleasure to learn about the AVIVA CENTER – a comprehensive child-family service agency. They help teen girls with safe harbor, educational and training. They also provide foster care and adoption services, including in the LGBT communities.

The AVIVA CENTER will be on my list of charities to show some #SocialGood #SocialMedia love to this #GivingTuesday.

What is the AVIVA CENTER? Their website explains it best and is summarized below:

Each year Aviva Family and Children’s Services serves more than 6,500 clients, including 1,530 children and youth ages birth to 21, most of whom come from homes below the federal poverty level.

Aviva helps remove emotional, social or other barriers which make it possible not only to transform the lives of individuals, but also to help halt the vicious cycle of abuse and neglect.

We do this by providing compassionate support, therapeutic services and guidance to at-risk children and families in four main program areas:



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