Need a break from sitting at a desk all day? This October at VIU’s Nanaimo campus there will be yoga classes held every Tuesday from 12:05 PM – 12:50 PM, in building 355 room 211.

The classes will be by donation with all funds going towards United Way.

Laura Shanner, this year’s staff representative from VIU, is working with United Way to lead fundraising campaigns with staff at VIU campuses, as well as with some of United Way’s other season fundraising activities. Shanner explained that United Way collects data year-round to help narrow down how to progress with problem areas within the community. For example, in February, United Way does a homeless count. This year in Nanaimo, they counted a total of 175 people who are suffering from chronic homelessness. United Way brings together school boards, the RCMP, Island Health, academics, non-profit agencies, and anyone else who may know about issues people have in the community, to compile information and share expertise.

Shanner also explained that United Way does a fundraising collective, meaning they focus on employee-based campaigns in workplaces, which helps keep fundraising costs down. Therefore, when the United Way raises funds, they find the priorities and set specific programs from local non-profit agencies.

“This year we are in the North Central Vancouver Island United Way. They’re funding 91 different programs, across Vancouver Island north of the Malahat,” Shanner said.

“That’s everything from anti-bullying programs and teen suicide prevention, to nutrition classes, to rental subsidies to help sex workers get out of prostitution.”

Although the support for programs is mainly targeted at staff through payroll donations, the yoga classes are also a great way to help raise funds. The classes will be taught by Megan Bailey of the Nanaimo Yoga Sanctuary and VIU’s HR department. Beginners, experts, and everyone in between is welcome to join.

Bring a mat and your donation that will help you and your community.