Continuing the Doing Good Through Yoga series, Dahn Yoga Foundation is shining a spotlight on the contributions Stephanie Gonzales has made to her community. Generous, committed and full of hope, Stephanie embodies the hong ik spirit-taking actions that prioritize the higher good, widely benefiting many.
Inspiring others by integrating holistic principles in her community work, the former Secretary of State of New Mexico currently serves as President of Board of Directors of Kitchen Angels. For this organization, board members are dedicated volunteers. For Stephanie, being the President of the Board means deeper engagement. Stephanie loves doing for others, it really makes her happy. But she said “I especially love the all of the caring that is a part of the Kitchen Angels experience.” The feeling is mutual.
According to Kitchen Angels Executive Director, Tony McCarty, Stephanie has been the board’s “spiritual anchor.” He pointed out that the Kitchen Angels mission statement says the organization is “divinely inspired,” and Stephanie helps bring this to life. Her spiritual outlook is welcomed because she puts it into action. Working on her 3rd year as a board member, Tony says Stephanie helps in so many ways, sensing what is needed and making sure that it is taken care of. Stephanie is intimately involved in the programs, fundraising, strategic planning, and even working directly with the clients.
Kitchen Angels was founded in 1992 to provide meals for people living with chronic or terminal illnesses. Since there were already services for seniors, Kitchen Angels provides home delivered meals, for people under 60 with no family or support. Currently, the organization also fills a service gap by providing meals to seniors with special dietary needs. This is a volunteer driven organization, with up 300 volunteers each week doing everything from planning to preparation, coordination and delivery of meals.
McCarty noted that many clients are dealing with social isolation. So, what Kitchen Angels brings them is more than food. He also believes that board members are more inspired in their work when they make a direct connection with clients. Stephanie has brought her Dahn Yoga training to this aspect of the organization’s work, by going the extra mile to deliver food to clients and in one adult care center she asked the managers if she could offer a free yoga class to some of their clients. McCarty says Stephanie provides a good example of how it all comes together in a holistic way.
According to Stephanie, her background in Dahn Yoga has helped her bring more love and care to her work, not only in how she relates with the clients, but in her work with the board, as well. It is infused in the way she communicates, the way she manages her team, the way she delegates work. Stephanie believes the benefits of her Dahn Yoga practice can be felt by those around her. Tony concurs. In addition to volunteers having received free Dahn Yoga classes as gifts of appreciation, Stephanie regularly integrates Dahn Yoga stress reduction techniques in meetings or events. On a personal note, Tony said that when they are going to make a presentation Stephanie helps him by reminding him to take a deep breath and focus on his Dahn jon.