Channeling our inner yogis on the beach then following it up with a hearty lunch at a restaurant overlooking the ocean is a quintessentially GiveLight way of talking shop. There are no boardrooms, no black or white boards, no fancy equipment, and no formality. But even in the midst of such a scenic escape, it’s clear we are here with purpose. Such is the pull of GiveLight and the dedication of those who come together for it.
At 100 degrees, the day is unusually hot and humid for October, even in the Southern California beachside town of Laguna. We’re instantly aware of this as we step onto the burning sand. The juxtaposition of the blazing sun overhead and the breaking water a few steps before us is much like GiveLight’s role in the lives of orphaned children and the relief it offers them.
True to form, the time used to wait for others to join is used effectively. We walk up and down the shore, discussing GiveLight Foundation’s forward movements and pause to greet passersby. The absence of crowded conversation allows runaway details about Dian Alyan, the GL Founder, to be discovered. Her penchant for picking up languages and finesse at learning them, her ability to connect with people who can’t always place her origins, and her ability to recognize passion and talent when she encounters it for instance. It’s easy to understand GL’s global reach and success, and see why people gravitate toward it through her. She has an unconventional way about her, as does the organization that flourishes under her using equally avant-garde ways to garner support and raise funds.
When the rest of the available SoCal chapter joins us, we spread our colorful mats across a strip to bend, flex and breathe through signature yoga poses. Beachgoers pass us by with smiles and nods. It’s refreshing but also very Californian. Even in the grizzly heat, we find a reason to make happy. After we breathe in some of the ocean air and conclude our yoga session, we form a circle on our mats and wax poetic, quite literally — sharing poetry that we’ve either recently encountered or that’s stayed with us. Our choices are quite telling of who we are as a group, eclectic in appearance and attitudes but one with our thoughts on what matters. We’re here because we care about the children who’ve been left behind in the mire, and we want to help.
We follow our shoreline yoga with a delicious lunch at Driftwood Kitchen, which offers a spectacular view of the Pacific, and discuss GL’s pending and future plans. There’s been much progress on the GL front as a whole, with new chapters opening in places like Dubai and Turkey. As people learn about GL’s work, plans also extend to finding and establishing homes for orphans in other countries struck with war and disaster. The increased interest in GL has also forged new partnerships that seek to propel the organization’s work to the next level. It’s exciting and heady to be part of something so novel and earnest yet ambitious and real.
Our bodies and stomachs nourished, we conclude the GL SoCal Chapter’s “meeting” on a soaring note with the promise of more to come and even more to give.