As owner and creator of Zobha, I am often asked to discuss our brand, business model and of course, our beautiful clothing. Few people know, however, how very much I love to discuss Zobha’s greater mission: to make a positive, lasting impact on our community.
I established the Zobha Foundation so that a portion of our resources could be used to help youth maximize their potential and also to promote education and wellness in our local and world communities. We are partners with Headstand, a non-profit that brings yoga and wellness programs to schools in at-risk communities. The Zobha Foundation also gives annually to breast cancer research, treatment and awareness programs.
Each year, however, I particularly look forward to selecting the recipient of Zobha’s Grace of Giving Scholarship. The scholarship is an annual grant awarded to qualified applicants for study in an approved yoga or other fitness training program. In addition to demonstrating financial need, our applicants must effectively communicate the ways in which they will use their training to serve a community in need.
I am delighted to announce Chelsea Albucher as this year’s recipient of Zobha’s Grace of Giving Scholarship. Chelsea pursued the scholarship so that she could unite two of her great passions, yoga and sustainable community development. Chelsea is a environmental scientist, certified urban planner and Visiting Professor at Pratt University in the graduate Environmental Systems Management program. She has practiced yoga for the past ten years and she plans to use her teacher training to offer yoga classes at community and job training centers in distressed, urban communities. She believes that yoga can be an invaluable part of any job training and work readiness program. And this dynamic, intelligent woman knows what she is talking about! Through her work with the US EPA and as a former Sustainability Officer with the City of Newark, New Jersey, Chelsea has spent over a decade connecting non-traditionally educated people from economically challenged communities to green jobs that pay a living wage.
In the long-term, Chelsea would like to develop a program that exposes young adults to career pathways in the fields of health and wellness. I am energized and inspired by her dedication. And as a business woman, I respect Chelsea’s pragmatic, focused approach to educating and mobilizing young people to cultivate wellness within their own communities.
Chelsea’s personal definition of “grace” is one of the most beautiful and honest I have ever heard. “Grace to me, is the ability to be soft and strong. To return to a pose after stumbling with equanimity, without agitation. Grace is smiling in traffic, even at cursing cabbies. Grace is respecting, loving and celebrating our bodies, its capacities and constraints-letting injuries and tightness become tools of awareness. Grace is acknowledging moments, even the fleeting moment of passing a stranger by in the street and sharing a gentle smile in recognition.”
This year’s selection process has been especially meaningful to me. Each time Zobha gives to an individual or organization, we make our core business values manifest. So, I’d like to say thank you to Chelsea Albucher, and to all of our other grantees. Zobha is so very honored to support your vital work.