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My Donation Classes during Holidays

by Susan Lowell, ATCQA Certified Instructor (Level III) and Owner of Tenley Town Tai Chi, published in November, 2018

In the Nov 2014 Supreme Chi Living newsletter, there was a short article on Holiday Donation Classes, suggesting you could offer classes to the public for free, and in exchange, each participant makes a donation to charity. Inspired by this, I came up with my own version of this "pay it forward" idea and started an annual holiday giving initiative.

Susan Lowell, left, with her students.

Now entering its 5th year, the initiative has proven to be a simple and powerful way to galvanize the community, spark conversation, and spread goodwill. It also demonstrates the power of small groups: collectively, thousands of dollars have gone to nearly 70 different charities over the years.

Here's how it works: registered students to take 2 classes for free during the holiday giving season, and they agree to pass along the equivalent value to the nonprofit organization of their choice. We use the honor system. All I ask for is the name or names of the charities so that I can create a list of recipients for the website. Because we are on a 10- or 20- class card system, it's easy for everyone.

Logistically, the "loss" of the free classes is distributed by running the initiative over several weeks: Nov 11/ Veteran's Day through Chinese New Year. This timeframe includes a diverse array of holidays and celebrations associated with light, life, renewal, and giving and is a way to also honor our Veterans and the Chinese heritage of Tai Chi.

I'm so proud of this, and more importantly, my students are proud. But I'm sure I never would have thought of it had it not been for Supreme Chi Living and my membership in ATCQA. This is just one example of the positive influence ATCQA and Supreme Chi Living has on its teacher members, and it also demonstrates how our organization and we as teachers can, with relatively small gestures, have a powerful and positive impact in the world.

Here's the Initiative's page from my website:




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