What started as a collaboration for International Women’s Day four years ago has turned into a weeklong celebration of movement that has raised over $60,000 for women’s causes in BC. In 2022, Workout for Women’s Day organizers Shana Alexander, Andi Davis, and Danya Rogen are hosting their biggest campaign yet in 2022, with over 40 instructors donating their time to host over 40 drop-in sessions and classes to raise funds for Battered Women’s Support Services (“BWSS”), Vancouver Women’s Health Collective (“VWHC”), and WISH Drop In-Centre (“WISH”).
I had a chance to catch up with Davis and Rogen to learn more about their initiative and how self-identifying girls and women, and gender-expansive people can participate.
Register today for drop-in classes for all levels March 1-8, 2022
Workout for Women’s Day
Personal trainer Shana Alexander approached her friend and colleague, fitness instructor Andi Davis, in 2019 and pitched her idea for the International Women’s Day initiative. They ended up hosting 17 sessions and raising $7,000 for BWSS. The team was excited about the pick-up and planned the event for the following year where they received double the donations, and this led to expanding to a week-long model in 2021.
“It’s slowly been growing, and we’ve built these relationships with teacher instructors throughout the city now that have helped us since the very beginning,” says Davis. “It’s felt really cool to kind of have this new community that’s built around movement and raising money for charitable organizations that support women and girls in BC.”
With more days, more sessions, and more interest, the team decided to help even more organizations.
About the Causes
“We each picked a charity this year,” says Rogen who teaches yoga and joined the campaign team a few years ago. She selected WISH Drop-In Centre as her charity this year. “I work in mental health when I’m not teaching fitness, and I just think what they do is so amazing and such a missed service in our society.” Alexander selected Vancouver Women’s Health Collective to add to the list of beneficiaries.
Davis says that all three organizations offer different wrap-around supports for women at all phases of their lives. “We had each charity pick a very tangible piece to their organization that they need funds for right now. We wanted people to know their money is going directly toward that initiative at that charitable organization.”
BWSS will put all Workout for Women’s Day donations toward their Crisis Line which offers emotional support to women experiencing gender-based domestic violence and/or uncertainty during these difficult times. VWHC funds will go to their free trauma-informed counselling services in support of women and gender-diverse individuals. Funds raised for WISH will go towards the Supportive Employment Program, which reduces barriers and provides kill development for sex workers wishing to seek mainstream employment.
“We also wanted to make sure that the charities we chose support everyone who identifies as a woman,” Rogen adds. “That was important to us as well. There were a couple where, if it wasn’t clear on their website if they were exclusive to people who were CIS-gender women. We tried to be more inclusive just in that sense, with the charities we chose.”
Who Can Participate
The women began with their own networks (their mom-friends, as Rogen puts it), expanded to the networks and communities of the instructors that came on board, and now they’re hoping to reach even more women this year. Davis says the next step to keep growing the event is to get even more people involved. “I feel like we’ve reached a really big stage for us, and now it’s just having people know who we are so that we can get to that next level.”
How to register:
- Donate to the cause you’d like to support
- Check the schedule to find the workouts and classes you’d like to participate in
- They have everything from Power Step to Barre Fusion, HIIT, Zumba, Strength Training, Bliss Yoga Flow, Circus Bodies, Retro Dance Cardio, Kickboxing, Bollywood Dance Party, and many more options.
- Register for your class(es) and you’re good to go! It’s all based on the honour system
“For us it’s just about people feeling that connection to take the next step and actually sign up. I think people are really interested in it and it’s just the next piece of just give it a shot, try it, it’s totally worth it and it goes to a good cause.” Davis says they recommend a donation of about $25 per class you register for, or if you’d like to do a couple a $100 donation can cover you for the whole week.
Why Workout for Women’s Day? It’s all about movement.
“Moving your body is just good for everything,” says Rogen. “It’s good for your brain, it’s good for your body, it’s good for all round – there are no downfalls the way I see it. What I actually really love about this week is that there are so many ways to move and I hope that we can really attract those people who might be scared to do a kickboxing class, but a yin yoga class is something they feel is more accessible and right up their alley.” Rogen says a doctor she works with likes to say: “The best exercise that you do is the one that you do!“
Davis says another benefit of participating, on top of supporting a great cause and getting your body moving, is making connections. “What was really cool and unique about our event was that we have this little community within itself because it was by Zoom. You started recognizing people in the class that you had been with in a previous class, and it created this kind of bond between people. So in terms of this pandemic and isolation and not feeling connection, I think that’s another thing that’s pretty unique about this week. You start to see people and connect with others. In terms of our mental health, I think huge as well. There’s so many different layers to this event that are so beneficial.”
Miss604 is a proud sponsor of Workout for Women’s Day 2022.
Related: Workout for Women’s Day in Vancouver in Support of Three Local Causes