To our community,
Thank you, thank you, thank you for 38 years of co-carrying the torch on our most important mission – addressing the real life challenges of existence through holistic, spiritual and integrative practices to create a harmonious relationship between ourselves, each other and the planet. My gratitude for you, our community, feels especially rich as our city attempts to move on from a pandemic. Of course we’re grateful that for almost four decades over a million of you have come through our doors and taken classes. Learned. Healed. Trained. Danced. Expressed. Grown. What might be less obvious is our gratitude for the impact each of you has as a result of doing your own work. Each of you is an extension of our mission. By attending even one Open Center experience, you make a difference in your own life and have an impact on those around you. Now think of the ripple effects there! So yes, it’s easy for us to be grateful for so many years of your support and engagement.
Because of our gratitude, we want to share news with you before making it public. While the pandemic has brought more than its share of hardships, it’s also shined a light on our path forward as we evolve into a global impact, hybrid organization of both physical and virtual programming. For almost forty years, we’ve existed in the heart of New York City, serving only those who could physically walk through our doors. 91% of our attendees live in the NYC area. Yet just a year after closing our 22 E 30th St location and going online for the first time, over 30% of our web traffic came from outside the United States. You have accessed our trainings from everywhere in the world and you’ve let us know by sending stories of deep gratitude for your experiences. We now have a global audience and our next step is growing into that responsibility with broader and deeper impact.
We’ve begun by “expanding” our focus from serving select individuals in New York City to serving the city as a whole. Early in the pandemic, when our physical doors were closed and our organization was understandably struggling for life, we decided to launch New Yorkers for New York – a free stress & anxiety reduction toolkit designed for 1st responders and front line workers, used by over 10,000 people. In addition, we provided free programming alongside Mayor Eric Adams in support of the city’s veteran community.
The Mayor has made it clear that a healthier New York City is important and we couldn’t agree more. In response, we’re launching a series of summer programs to help folks revitalize, re-energize and renew coming out of the pandemic. You will have the opportunity to learn with many of your favorite teachers, all of whom are generously donating their time, talent and expertise. The schedule and details are coming soon.
While our current period of transformation includes much internal reflection, it also involves an infusion of new energy and expertise. I’m beyond excited and honored that Dr. Barbara Vacarr will be joining The Open Center as a strategic advisor. Dr. Vacarr was most recently the CEO of Kripalu, our good friend up in the Berkshires. Although we’ve historically had little collaboration between the major holistic centers, Barbara and I believe that well-aligned partners will be most beneficial for our collective community. You’ll be seeing more partnerships and programming with other like-minded organizations in the near future so stay tuned.
Finally, we’re actively adding to our Board of Directors and Advisory Council. As the landscape of spiritual and holistic offerings changes, so too must the skill sets, relationships and perspectives required to shepherd our journey.
In summary, we are balancing two concurrent realities – doing everything possible to serve this amazing city while also turning inward to strengthen and be the best steward of our mission.
We embrace this pivotal moment of metamorphosis with passion, vulnerability, acceptance and love. Always moving forward. And always together.
Much love. Always.
Chief Executive Officer