Interview by Shelly Williams
I love hearing about friends, family and colleagues that dedicate their time and energy to get involved in social causes, start organizations, and are compelled to help others. I’ve always supported my friends that develop a passion for a cause, and I continue to search for my own cause to become passionate about. When I learned that YogaWorks own, Patti Quintero, had been working hard (without a lot of spare time) to develop SoulShine Colombia and partnered up with Waves for Water and JUANFE, I had to learn more! I sat down with Patti to find out what drove her to develop SoulShine Colombia and how yoga was going to play a role in her program. Here is Part 1 of my interview with Patti.
What or Whom inspired you to start SoulShine Colombia?
I have always had the dream to give back by establishing a non-profit or volunteering my time, but I kept thinking I had to wait to accomplish other immediate goals before I could really launch my passion project….I learned quickly that when your heart speaks to you, you must listen, and my heart song had never been more clear! I have been lucky to have two strong and inspiring female role models in my life, my mother and my older sister. My mother has devoted decades of her life to raising funds to send medical equipment and treatment to very poor people in Colombia, and my sister is an environmental lawyer and activist for NRDC. It felt like second nature for me to jump into this kind of work, and as a Mother, Teacher and Doula, so I followed my passion of working with Women and Children, in the country in which I was raised.
How did the idea for SoulShine Colombia finally come together?
I met Jon Rose, the founder of Waves For Water, and was inspired by his mission to personally empower the less fortunate by bringing water filters to impoverished communities so that families and children would not die from lack of clean water. Having grown up in a third world country, I witnessed first hand how many do not have the luxury of clean drinking water. We immediately spoke about making a trip to Colombia and how we could join forces. It seemed like the perfect blend of elements, Yoga and Clean Water.
Breath and Water are two of the main sustainers of life. Where Yoga aims to extend and expand your life force through its breath and body awareness, clean drinking water is essential to prevent disease, purify and cleanse the body and organs. We cannot live without these two!
I then reached out to my childhood friend from Colombia Michelle Frohlich- Klinger, who has led many successful philanthropic missions in the US and Colombia. Michelle and I shared the passion to reach out to our country in aid. We then were connected with CNN Hero, Catalina Escobar who is the founder of JUANFE in Cartagena, Colombia, a non-profit organization that aims to enable and empower young mothers to break the cycle of poverty through education and opportunity. We had found the perfect place to launch SoulShine Colombia!
Why did you choose Colombia?
I was born in California, and moved to Colombia when I was 5, and then to Miami when I was 14. Both my parents are Colombian and I am so happy I had the opportunity to grow up in Bogota. When you grow up in a less developed country you really learn to appreciate the luxuries we have here in the US. I knew I would eventually find my way back to Colombia to teach, I just didn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle figured out.
Is yoga popular in Colombia?
During the years I lived there it was not popular. Now fortunately there are many yoga studios all over Colombia, some of which I am going to be leading trainings and workshops at. It has always been a dream of mine to come back to share this practice with my people…especially with those who would never have the opportunity to experience it.