Meet Alicia, YYoga member and founder of Karma Pac. We chatted with Alicia to learn more about her experience with YYoga and her initiative, which donates school supplies to students in need.
“Child poverty affects 1 in 5 children in BC. I hope I can make a difference in that.”
YYoga: Alicia, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your company? We’d love to learn more!
Alicia: Apart from loving yoga, my main activities include road biking and hiking. Luckily, yoga helps in both strengthening and recovering from these. I co-own my family’s business, Edu-Pac Services which is tied to my Karma Pac initiative. We work with schools across BC, to provide parents the opportunity to purchase custom school supply packages from us.
YYoga: So what exactly is Karma Pac?
Alicia: Karma Pac is a social business that sells backpacks and uses the proceeds to provide school supplies to less fortunate families in BC. We have also recently raised thousands of dollars by hosting a social event just last week. As well, some of our suppliers have made donations of free school supplies and money to the cause.
YYoga: That’s awesome! What sort of supplies do you provide the students with?
Alicia: Each school and teacher requires students to bring different school supplies so it differs. But some of the basic supplies needed by most students are paper, notebooks, pencils, pencils, felts, glue, scissors, rulers and erasers.
YYoga: How do you choose which families to help?
Alicia: Our parent company, EduPac Services, has strong relationships with elementary schools in Canada. Through these relationships, they have secretaries, principals and parents that determine which families have the highest need for school supplies donations.
YYoga: What inspired this idea?
Alicia: I have had many experiences with parents reaching out to me because they couldn’t afford to pay for their children’s school supplies. Sometimes it’s a single mom that is having a hard time paying the bills, or a dad that’s disabled. It’s heartbreaking to hear this because I worry about the children not having the school supplies to not only fit in with their peers, but also to not have the same opportunities to excel in the classroom. I was inspired by the Toms Shoes business model of “One for one.” With EduPac, my family and I have always taken care of a lot of families’ supplies. But Karma Pac, provides us a way of having a larger impact.
YYoga: What is the future direction that you see Karma Pac heading in?
Alicia: I would like Karma Pac to have a wider reach across Canada. Although I feel starting right here at home is the most important right now. Child poverty affects 1 in 5 children in BC. I hope I can make a difference in that.
YYoga: How has yoga impacted your life? Tell us what your favourite class is?
Alicia: Yoga has had a major impact on my life. I initially started for the physical challenge. Yet, the biggest impact is the tidbits of wisdom the teachers share. In one of my first classes the teacher said “Look up, go up.” She meant physically you can go higher when you stretch and look up. But I took that into my daily life, and remind myself that if I want to make something happen, I have to set my sights high and rise to achieve it. My favourite yoga class is YHot at Yaletown, 7-8am on weekdays. I love starting my day on a positive note.