Backpack Buddies is lucky to have an incredible network of volunteers and donors. We rely on the passion and support from our community to do what we do.
We interviewed Shana Alexander, one of our amazing #hungerheroes. Here’s what she had to say!
Shana is a certified personal trainer, group fitness and spin instructor, and pre and post-natal fitness specialist in beautiful Vancouver, BC. In March, she started “Bootcamp to Benefit for Backpack Buddies” – a creative and engaging way for folks to connect, move their bodies and make a difference. Shana, alongside her bootcamp community, has raised $20,000.00 to support B.C. children access the food they need to learn and grow.
Why did you decide to start this fundraising initiative in support of Backpack Buddies?
When we all found ourselves at home last spring, I missed my fitness community so I started to offer classes on Zoom and decided that one class per week would be in support of a charity. In the past, I have offered classes for charity which I have called Bootcamp to Benefit, so in March, Bootcamp to Benefit for Backpack Buddies was born! Backpack Buddies was the perfect fit for so many reasons: I love that it supports children right here in BC, I am inspired by the passion and energy of the co-founders and the staff, and I am so impressed and motivated by how they have stepped up to meet the increasing demand as families’ situations change through the pandemic.
How much money have you raised?
More than $20,000 and counting! Bootcamp to Benefit for Backpack Buddies is still happening once every month, and all are welcome!
Can you speak to the community you’ve formed and the experience of getting together and sweating it out for a cause?
I’d like to think Bootcamp to Benefit has provided participants with a feel-good, community-building event during tough times – a regular reminder that we are in this together. Even though we aren’t physically in the same space, it has really felt like a coming together of people to feel a part of something bigger, to feel stronger physically and mentally, and to help others. Another plus is that people join from all over the world; throughout the summer we had participants from across BC, Alberta, Ontario, New York, LA, Arizona, and the UK! People would make it a “date”: Neighbours, distanced in parking garages, moms and daughters in different provinces, cousins from all over North America, old roommates across continents – it has been a chance to be healthy with friends and family from all over! And you feel that energy, that connection of people who love one another. It’s been pretty special.
I’d also like to point out that it’s not just been me: We have breathed to the powerful words of three amazing health practitioners (Lisa Yeates, Amy Nagel, and Dr. Rotem Regev) who close out class most weeks with a moment of guided mindfulness and breathwork; we have been trained by instructor Danya Rogen when I was out of town; we have been gifted with the beautiful music of Erica Chan; and my brother and sister-in-law and friend Carey Yuen have DJed week after week! This has been a team effort!
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start their own fundraiser?
Backpack Buddies itself was formed on a small idea that has grown and grown. Any fundraising idea is a great idea, because every dollar makes a difference in the life of a child. Do it!
If you’d like to join Shana for Bootcamp to Benefit for Backpack Buddies, there are upcoming classes on November 1st and 29th. All people of any level are welcome to join and the class consists of cardio and strength with a guided breathwork/mindfulness practice at the end. Join our community for a cause!
Follow @alexander_shana on Instagram to keep up to date on upcoming opportunities to get fit and do good! You can find the full schedule for Bootcamp to Benefits (supporting different charities weekly) at www.strongerwithshana.com under Class Schedule.