Dear Practitioners and Teachers,
Every year , Maggie, Annette and I reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new year. 2021 was another year of difficult choices and continued concerns for our individual families, our communities, and our world. Each of us has had to make choices in almost all aspects of our daily lives. Is it safe to visit with family or friends? Do I go to the grocery store? How do I keep my children safe? How do I hold true to myself and protect my loved ones? On and on it goes, day after day. There is a perpetual level of uncertainty and stress that has inundated our days.

Yet, what I have seen, with each of you, is a steadfast commitment to yourselves and to your practice as teachers and practitioners. You have investigated your personal levels of tolerance and have balanced that with all the complex interconnections we all have in our lives. I continue to be aware of the resilience and adaptability you have displayed to keep your practices alive and to be of service. It has required you all to be flexible and fluid.

Last year, we initiated a new tradition in which we donated in support of community--in your honor and in appreciation of you. The Salomao-Schmidt Family and Kimberly Gunner and Andy Colbert received a donation from Roots & Wings on behalf of our entire community of teachers and practitioners. This is what we are currently aware of in their lives:
  • Maria Salomao died on January 19th, 2021 surrounded by her family. Our donation contributed to the family's medical costs and support services. Doug, her husband recovered from severe COVID symptoms.

  • Kimberly and Andy work diligently every day to heal from their trauma, heal from life-altering injuries, and find strength to keep on going. Our donation contributed to the construction of accessibility additions to their home. Kimberly continues to keep the community updated on the Gofundme page.
This year we wondered where there was a local need that called to our energies and hearts. When we learned about Metrowest Worker Center (MWC) of Framingham and heard stories similar to Jose's from Ecuador and Sandy's from Guatemala, we knew we wanted to do something. MWC supports families who have lost work due to the injury or illness, reunites children and parents, provides food and financial support to families in need, and finds legal support when needed.
Angélica brought her 8-year old daughter, Sandy González-García to America, to escape violence in Guatemala. Sandy was taken from her mother and placed in an unspecified shelter for nearly 2 months. Through MWC's advocacy and community coalition they were able to help reunite Sandy with her mom.
"Falls are the number one workplace injury in Massachusetts, and roofing and siding is often done by immigrant workers working for companies that don't provide adequate safety equipment and push workers to work extremely long days."..."Imagine not being able to work to feed your family. Imagine your employer denying that you work for him. Imagine being afraid to get medical attention because of retaliation" -Metrowest Worker Center website

As a community and an organization Roots & Wings has committed to being a force for healing and support. We believe it is important to extend beyond our usual boundaries and expand ourselves, our ideas, and our hearts. "Nobody's free until everybody's free." -Fanny Lou Hamer

Over 10 years ago, friends of a very ill yoga student asked us if we could create a fundraiser and offer medical support. The doctors said Rebekah had little time left--all of her organs were shutting down. She would be leaving her two young boys. This was the start of Branching Out. Today Rebekah attends classes, joins other Branching Out fundraisers, and just recently walked her oldest son down the aisle at his wedding!

Through Branching Out, over 200 private sessions have been donated. In addition, between fundraising events and free classes for those in need, at least 400 students have come through our doors. This year, Roots & Wings Branching Out will be expanding our partnership with Boston Cancer Support. We welcome the Metrowest Worker Center community, providing as many free or discounted services we can. We continue to welcome anyone in need of healing arts services to reach out to us regardless of their ability to pay. We are committed to creating more equity in healing arts.

Thank you, each one of you, for contributing your skill and your heart to the ongoing evolution of our families, communities, and larger world. We need all of us to participate. Your contribution matters. Thank you for your presence this past year and for staying the course as we maintain trust in the future.

Please stay healthy, safe and connected.

With love,

Karen, Maggie and Annette