On Tuesday, March 10th, Bent on Learning hosted the Inspire! Gala at NYC’s famed Capitale. The organization’s mission is to improve the cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills of New York City students. Their method: integrating yoga and meditation directly into the classroom, right where the learning takes place.
The Inspire! Gala draws immense support around it’s cause – not only on this night, but in the 15 years since its formation. Having started as a small nonprofit organization in 2001 that taught yoga in a select few NYC classrooms, Bent on Learning has grown to outstanding numbers. They’ve reached over 18,000 students to date, and helped to further spread the word about their mission at this iteration of the annual gala.
The evening was celebrated with a dynamic program, delighting attendees with celebrity appearances, student demonstrations, and a fine array of food, drinks, and dancing. Kicking off the program, a leading instructor guided students through a series of yoga poses. To the delight of all, Hilaria Baldwin (showing off her baby bump) jumped in to assist. Bridget Moynahan also made her presence clear as the host of the evening, interacting with the kids throughout the course of the night. To shake things up between bites of food, speaker Gopi Kallayuil surprised the crowd by calling them to their feet. He then led the gown-clad group through a series of meditation exercises that ended in a large cumulative roar. This was an epic display for the first ever yoga session at a New York City gala.
Dinner was followed by a moving video that highlighted Bent On Learning’s cause. Further emphasizing what the organization is all about, High School students from a participating school took turns speaking about what yoga means to them. Providing this first-hand account allowed guests to truly understand the impact the organization makes. In turn, they showed their support through an energetic auction and a thriving silent auction, raising over $350K throughout the evening.
At the close of the show, an interlude by Alec Baldwin amused the crowd while they watched him banter with a mystery online Gala attendee who was outbidding him. Following suit, Jennifer Ford and Anne Desmond showed their appreciation for the memorable night, and encouraged guests to enjoy dessert and dancing. A doable task, indeed.
With the help of Save the Date®, the Bent on Learning Inspire! Gala truly was an inspiration. Supporting the well being and education of the youth is an admirable task, and events like this help to make their dreams a reality.
Photos courtesty of Derek Pashupa Goodwin
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