My name is Kendra Coupland, and I am a Black, queer meditation coach and multi-disciplinary artist living and working on the unceded Coast Salish territory now known as Metro Vancouver.
After studying and practicing yoga for seven years, in 2017 I was initiated into the yogic tradition while studying in South India. I am certified and registered with Yoga Alliance International as a Yoga Grandmaster and Meditation Teacher. In 2019 I completed the Yoga Outreach Core Training for Trauma-Informed Yoga.
I help people to develop mindfulness tools and cultivate self-awareness and compassion. Over the years, I have worked with large entities such as the City of Vancouver, teaching yoga. I have worked with several non-profits supporting the mental health of frontline social workers, and I created programming for UBC's Sexual Violence and Prevention Office to support survivors of sexual violence. In addition, I organize and run healing, wellness, and mindfulness programming for members of the Black community.
In 2020, I created the Dark Before The Dawn Retreat in response to ongoing systemic racial violence. This retreat brought together various Black-identified healers, therapists, and wellness facilitators to a community farm (Abundance Farm), where they could provide support to the larger community of Black people and people of the Pan-African diaspora.
I was able to provide support for 50 participants with cultural-specific programming such as African drumming and dance, access to traditional African foods, and opportunities for group wellness practices and access to nature.
In addition, this retreat created jobs in the Black community and forged ongoing relationships rooted in community care.
List to what participants had to say about the 2020 retreat here:
My goal is to offer another retreat in 2022, this time with more focus on community care, inclusiveness, and creating a more sustainable future together.
The two principal challenges faced in 2020 were related to funding.
The first challenge was that the space, although more financially accessible, was physically inaccessible for disabled and elderly members of the Black community. This meant that we could not engage in intergenerational community healing in the ways I would have liked.
The second challenge was that due to lack of funding, I was understaffed for the event, which meant I had to limit the scope of the offering. There was no funding for childcare and/or child-centered activities. This led to the exclusion of single parents and families lacking access to affordable and safe childcare.
Supportive funding would allow us to not only sustain but expand this offering for 2022.
With your assistance Dark Before The Dawn will run again from September 16th - September 19th, 2022.
To address some of the previous challenges around accessibility and include more disabled and elderly community members and children, we have moved this retreat to Zajac Ranch for Children. While the cost is higher, this venue provides summer camps for children and adults with medical conditions and disabilities and meets many of our accessibility needs.
This retreat will include more culturally age-appropriate programming and activities for children. In addition, it will provide increased support for both physically disabled and elderly Black communities and opportunities to participate in activities and engage in collective community care.
Lastly, while it wasn't a past issue, I will be preemptively providing additional on-site staff support trained in mental health first aid as support for retreat participants this year.
The Dark Before the Dawn Retreat costs $750 per participant; this includes:
- Overnight accommodations in a dormitory for 100 participants from September 16th - 19th, 2022
- Cultural breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and tea station.
- Daily age-appropriate workshops with professional facilitators centered around community building, self-determination, and inclusivity.
- Roundtrip shuttle bus transportation from Vancouver to Zajac Ranch
- Access to facilities on the ranch, including hydrotherapy, sporting equipment, and the Indigenous Cultural Centre.
Unfortunately, $750 is out of the reach for many folks wishing to attend. We want to remove as many barriers as possible and are relying on outside funding for support. Many of the fractured and strained relationships within the Black community are a direct result of colonization, enslavement, marginalization, and forced generational poverty. I believe there is an opportunity here for allies working to dismantle social oppression to participate in restorative justice. Those who have been harmed should not be responsible for shouldering the entire financial cost of healing.
Every $750 raised can send one more person to the retreat who would otherwise be unable to afford to attend. $15,000 allows us to send 20 people from our community to this retreat, and specifically, those who face financial hardship, including but not limited to: newcomers/newly landed immigrants, refugees, youth, disabled, and elderly community members who live on a fixed income, youth who have aged out of foster care, LGBTQ+, and single parents.
Here is my challenge to YOU:
Locate 10 people in your community who can donate $75 each. With each group donation of $750, one more person can access community healing.
Can't contribute financially?
- Offer a service or product towards our fundraiser.
- Donate your time to provide administrative support
- Ask your company/workplace if they are willing to sponsor the retreat
- Host an online yard sale and donate your proceeds
- Share this work on social media and increase the visibility
- Instead of receiving gifts from your birthday or wedding shower/baby shower registry, ask for donations toward the retreat.
- Grow seedlings and have a plant sale - donate the proceeds
- Host an auction of your own and donate the proceeds
- Host a car wash
- Host a book drive/consignment drive
- Host an outdoor cook-off
- Organize a bingo night
- Build a lemonade stand
With your help we can build a healthier more loving community together, the effects of which will be felt far and wide.
Thank you for your support!