Sunday, April 22nd, is not just any spring day ó itís National Earth Day, the largest, most celebrated environmental event across the globe, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
National Earth Day began in 1970 as a protest to spark a revolution against environmental abuse, and although it is not an official holiday, it is observed in 175 countries by more than 500 million people worldwide, according to the Earth Day Network organization.
Claire Turner, a yoga instructor and Los Angeles County area director of the local AuPairCare office, based in Marina del Rey, decided sheíd take part in the celebration.
Turner created a ìYoga on the Beachî event to support Earth Day for the 30 or so au pairs she oversees in West Los Angeles, including many from Santa Monica, Venice and the Marina.
An ìau pairî is a young adult (18 to 26 years old) from another country who lives with a family and provides in-home childcare for up to 45 hours per week.
Au pairs also assist with light housekeeping and other duties associated with childcare, such as driving children to school and preparing their meals.
On Wednesday, April 14th, Turner and a group of her au pairs will practice yoga on the beach by the Venice Pier in support of National Earth Day.
Each au pair will make a $10 donation and all money raised from Yoga on the Beach will be donated to The Climate Group, an international environmental nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing business and government leadership on climate change.
ìIt seems to all tie in quite nicely,î said Turner. ìYoga is this sense of us being part of a bigger picture, the universe, and helping each other. What better way to do it than as part of National Earth Day, when itís all about us coming together as one world?î
Lucie Tesarova, a 25-year-old au pair from the Czech Republic who lives in Santa Monica, says she thinks itís a great idea.
Tesarova participated in Yoga on the Beach last year, when the donations went toward breast cancer awareness.
That was before Turner thought to tie together the organization the au pairs were making donations to with National Earth Day and ìmake it more relevant,î Turner said. ìI made a note to make it more organized this year.î
ìNational Earth Day is a good opportunity to remind ourselves that people should be more sensitive to nature,î Tesarova said.
ìConcerning making a donation, why not!î she said. ìI like the idea.î
Candice Erasmus, a 19-year-old au pair from South Africa who lives in Santa Monica, says, ìI think itís wonderful that the AuPairCare program is raising money to contribute to Earth Day, as I believe that every little contribution can make a difference.
ìI have only done yoga a couple of times, but I definitely find it therapeutic and look forward to doing it on the beach. What could be better than that?î
Turner stressed that yoga involves a sense of being part of something bigger than oneself ó the universe.
ìWeíre all part of the earth,î she said. ìWe live on Planet Earth. We all need to do our individual part to keep it safe for the future, for our children. It seems kind of symbolic on several levels.
ìItís National Earth Day, weíre raising money for an organization, weíre doing yoga ó which is all about giving and about being part of the universe. Weíre people from around the world all trying to do our piece to help the planet.î
The au pairs Turner oversees meet with her about once a month, as required by the Department of State.
ìThe meetings help establish and build a sense of community for the au pairs,î said Turner, who was an au pair herself 15 years ago. ìItís really nice.î
This Yoga on the Beach will be one of those meetings.
AuPairCare is designated by the United States Department of State to legally sponsor au pairs to come to the United States and assists families nationwide in finding good, affordable in-home childcare. It has placed more than 30,000 au pairs from 40 countries with families across the U.S. since 1989, according to AuPairCare.
Information, www.aupair care.com/.