Sonja Duncan is bending over backwards to support disadvantaged youth, and she's helping people improve their wellbeing while she's at it.
The Bowman Valley resident is conducting yoga classes at Barrington Hall with all proceeds going to the Trek for the Stars 2024 fundraiser, helping young people from the Mid Coast and beyond to fulfill their potential.
"It's great because it applies to 10 to 18-year-olds from the Gloucester region as well," Sonja said.
Trek for the Stars is a demanding six-day trek through New Zealand's South Island, challenging the participants with alpine hikes past glacial lakes, up steep mountainous slopes and through valleys, forests and snowfields.
To take part in the trek, each participant must raise a minimum of $3000 for the cause.
For Sonja, that means running her yoga classes.
Yoga is not just the physical act of stretching and moving, it's breathing and meditation...so when you bring those together it has such massive benefits- Yoga instructor and disadvantaged youth fundraiser, Sonja Duncan
Further assisting her efforts, the Barrington Community Hall committee has generously provided Sonja with free access to the hall so that every dollar she raises will go towards her fundraising mission.
The Trek for the Stars fundraiser falls under the umbrella of the Grow A Star youth mentoring and scholarship program that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds overcome the financial or generational obstacles.
Since its inception in 2012, Grow A Star has assisted hundreds of young people from the Hunter, Central Coast, Mid North Coast and remote Central West regions to pursue their academic, artistic or sporting goals at grassroots and representative levels.
Sonja's "regular" job sees her busy as a business owner operating within the field of sustainability and human rights consultancy.
For her, yoga is used simply as a means for helping others, either directly by improving their wellbeing, or to raise money for worthy causes such as the Grow A Star.
"Yoga is a gift that I can give. I'm a fully qualified teacher, but I don't earn money from my classes; I either run them for free or I run them to raise money for programs such as this one," Sonja said.
Despite the demands of such a career, Sonja has engaged her passion for fundraising involvement with numerous programs in addition to Grow A Star, such as Westpac Rescue Helicopter and breast cancer research.
"This being a local program really appeals to me. Being able to help local youths and local families I think is super important.
"If you give children an opportunity to shine they will, so that's why I'm really passionate about this."
Sonja's yoga classes will be held at Barrington Hall on Wednesdays from 6-7pm. Bookings essential and can be made through her facebook page or via email: email@example.com
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