She began a 200-hour certification course with Open Doors to be a Yoga instructor last April and will soon begin teaching that tradition, in addition to the free Reiki sessions she offers at Open Doors in Braintree Square Tuesday evenings and Thursday afternoons. A donation jar is set up during those sessions for local charities.
Along the way, she has been able to connect with even more of her giving side – Ward taught yoga at women's shelters in Quincy and Hingham earlier this year – and continue a charitable effort she started last year that helps keep alive the memory of her brother, who passed away a decade ago after spending time at Father Bill's in Quincy.
Ward's donation drive for Father Bill's & MainSpring has drop-off locations at Braintree Town Hall and the Weymouth Club through the end of the year. Residents are encouraged to bring items such as bath towels, toiletries and first aid products. Last year Ward collected nearly $3,000 worth of goods for the non-profit.
"This feels really good to me, to be doing this," Ward said. "It's part of my Yoga journey."
Ward credits Open Doors founder Richard Lanza with helping propel her on a journey of self-discovery. She tries to live now by the lesson of Namaste, a phrase repeated during Yoga:
"My soul honors your soul. I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you. Because it is also within me. In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one."
"Richard Lanza is really like my mentor," Ward said. "He's just wonderful."
Father Bill's and MainSpring is a non-profit formed when the two groups, based out of Quincy and Brockton, combined in 2007. The group focuses on finding housing first for homeless people and supporting them through workforce development and other programs.
Mayor Joseph Sullivan and his staff worked with Ward last year and this year to get the Father Bill's donation box setup at Town Hall.
“She has a great commitment and enthusiasm to help people," Mayor Joseph Sullivan said. “It’s something that I admire.”
Ward said she plans to continue the drive in the coming years, and possibly expand it beyond Town Hall and the Weymouth Club.
For more information about Father Bill's & MainSpring, go to http://helpfbms.org. And see the PDF attached above to this article for a list of needed goods. More on Open Doors at http://www.opendoors7.com.