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Kula for Karma, NJ's Yoga Inspired First Annual Fundraiser

by Jennifer Cosgrove


On Monday, November 10, 2008 New Jersey is in for a real treat. Kula for Karma, a non-profit organization founded by Franklin Lakes, NJ resident Geri Topfer, will be hosting its first annual fundraiser at the Ridgewood Women’s Club. The event will host some of Broadway’s finest actors and actresses with representation from Wicked, Gypsy, Cry Baby, South Pacific and more! There will be silent and live auctions with winners taking home Broadway tickets, backstage passes, autographed posters, time-shares and even Broadway performers are up for grabs; some are donating their time to sing at your very own event.

The idea behind Kurtains Up! is not simply a fundraiser but to also get to know and understand a new grassroots non-profit organization that is helping people within the community. Kula for Karma is at its core; a network of yoga instructors who so generously donate their time and talents to the less fortunate. Many local groups and organizations have benefited and been enlightened such as the Bergen County Prison, New Jersey Center for Outreach, Franklin Lakes Recreational Center’s autistic children’s group, the Teen Resource Center, CareOne, Children’s Aid and Family Services and various others. Topfer founded Kula for Karma with a simple mission of offering yoga to those among us whose spirit has been challenged by illness, abuse, neglect, addiction and other life obstacles. Her original goals and dreams have since then branched out to helping almost anyone who comes knocking on her door. In the past few months Kula for Karma has helped launch an inner-city, Bronx music program for P.S. 204 Morris Heights Elementary School children and gotten involved with Autism Family Services of New Jersey as well as the Epilepsy Foundation.

With such a selfless and dynamic organization located in the heart of Bergen County it’s going to be hard to avoid hearing about the successful strides of Kula for Karma, especially when their next project is to help a Uganda orphanage by raising money for food, clean water and clothes. The Kurtains Up! event is a way for them to introduce themselves, inform community leaders about what they’re up to and where they’re headed and let fellow New Jersey residents know that there is a way to help and enjoy yourself too. “Where else can you go to experience top Broadway performers dance and sing their hearts out for three hours, get free parking, experience no traffic, network with influential business owners and individuals in the community and support a great local non-profit all in one night?” Topfer asks.

With tickets ranging anywhere from $35-$150 Kula for Karma is hoping to attract a wide variety of attendees. 100% of the proceeds will go towards yoga equipment: mats, blocks, straps, blankets, etc. (Program locations can require up to $500 worth of equipment; programs typically run for 44 weeks), yoga retreats (in development) for inner city teens, battered women and their families, teacher training programs (in development) that focus on specific populations: the incarcerated, teens at risk, individuals facing challenges due to cancer, chronic illness or trauma, scholarships for disadvantaged children to attend yoga camps or our Bronx Music program, spiritual music/kirtan program (in development) for children, teens and adults, the purchase of a computer and mailing expenses (the possibilities for Kula for Karma and their expansion of the network of teachers and deserving organizations is contingent upon internet access and occasional mailings). “Who would have believed that only a year ago, sitting on the floor talking about volunteering to teach yoga would have resulted in relationships with over 40 organizations and national recognition? We hope that this fundraiser will allow us to create the scholarship and training opportunities that will continue to allow us to serve”- Geri Topfer, Executive Director of Kula for Karma www.kulaforkarma.org.


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