Purple Dot Yoga Project
Finding peace through yoga
Kate Berlin started Purple Dot Yoga Project in St. Petersburg in 2015 to help raise awareness for domestic violence and relationship abuse and to use yoga practice and philosophy to foster healthy relationships and empower survivors.
“Our biggest accomplishment is how well we’ve been able to bring the community together,” says Berlin, 27, who puts together events that include yoga sessions, guest speakers and vendors. Purple Dot Yoga Project (purpledotyogaproject.org) also collaborates with local yoga studios and yoga teachers to further raise awareness and offer donation-based yoga classes.
The 501c3 nonprofit organization also offers complimentary one-on-one yoga services to domestic violence survivors at CASA in St. Petersburg and The Spring of Tampa Bay in Tampa.
Online, they help empower survivors of violence through their #SurvivorStories campaign. The goal is for survivors to share their experience and for others to read and understand the complexities of relationship abuse, Berlin says. Another campaign, #PowerfulWomenProfiles, encourages strong women in the community to share success stories after overcoming adversity so someone going through hard times can feel inspired and hopeful, Berlin says.
Long term, Berlin has lofty goals for her organization, including creating trauma training for yoga instructors, yoga workshops and virtual support groups. “We combat violence by spreading love,” Berlin says.
Rotary Club of St. Petersburg Sunset
Worldwide reach, locally focused
Rotary is a volunteer organization started in Chicago in 1905, and it has since grown to more than 1.2 million business and professional leaders united worldwide. The goal is to provide humanitarian service and help build goodwill and peace.
In St. Petersburg alone there are six chapters, including The Rotary Club of St. Petersburg Sunset (stpetesunsetrotary.org), founded in 2010. The evening club of “young and young at heart” professionals raises money for the St. Petersburg Free Clinic’s Family Residence, which helps newly homeless families stay together and helps them find homes again, says Christy Fellas, the club’s public relations chairwoman.
Members of the 501c3 nonprofit organization also come together to listen to engaging speakers, organize service projects, and network with other Rotarians.
One of the club’s biggest annual events is Engage St. Pete, a collaboration with St. Petersburg Young Professionals. The evening is filled with talks designed to ignite change by helping to connect young professionals with community leaders and local causes. Past speakers have included St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Councilwoman Darden Rice and other city officials and community activists.
“Compelled, informed, and engaged people make St. Petersburg a great city,” Fellas says.