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NBP Member Interview Series Featuring Brandy Lee Fritzen

Written by Rachel Nolte  • October 19, 2017

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Editor’s Note: Rachel is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) at NEHDA for the year. Her roll involves a variety of tasks, such as recruiting volunteers and applying for funding opportunities to plan really cool, really fun events that benefit the community. Rachel graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a BFA in Sculpture and a minor in psychology. She spent the past year serving in another AmeriCorps program where she traveled the state of New York to help out with various environmental projects. As part of Rachel’s work with NEHDA, she is writing some posts for us to share. All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. To learn more about NEHDA, visit their website and Facebook.

 

You in Motion

 

Brandy Lee Fritzen is the owner of a recently opened a studio for movement & meditation called You In Motion. Located on North Salina Street (across from Assumption Church), You In Motion focuses on the mental health benefits of motion through yoga and dance. Read on to find out more about Brandy and her studio.

 

Question: Where are you from originally?

Brandy: I’m from here, Syracuse, NY.

 

 

Q: How long have you been interested in running your own studio?

Brandy:  I think that it’s something that I secretly had a desire to do, and I didn’t really know it until the opportunity presented itself.

 

 

Q: Do you want to speak a little bit more about what you mean by that?

Brandy: Well, I think that I always wanted to but I never thought that it would be real, or that it could really happen. When the opportunity presented itself, it was just events that were happening that I didn’t—I was getting tired of teaching elsewhere and that made me have the desire to have my own space. I happened to drive by the space that was available, and that would be the opportunity, is that the space was there, it was open, and it presented itself.

 

 

Q: How long have you been teaching?

Brandy: I’ve been teaching Nia [keeping reading for an explanation of Nia!] since 2007. I am a Nia white belt, there’s a series of belts you can get as you grow and learn more through the practice.

 

 

Q: What’s the highest ranking?

Brandy: Black belt, and the black belt is a trainer, so you can train the trainers. So I’ve taken the first belt, and I trained, and I taught for a little while, and then I took some time off. And then I decided that I want to continue teaching again because it’s something that I love doing and I needed it in my life. So, I decided to take my white belt again to revisit the foundation of Nia and what it is and the purpose and why I want to do it, instead of continuing to excel on to the other belts. Now that I’ve got that done, I can continue on.

 

 

Q: For those who don’t know what Nia is, can you explain that a little?

Brandy: Nia stands for Neuromuscular Integrative Action and it is a dance-fitness, to say it plainly, that incorporates techniques from the healing arts, the dance arts, the martial arts. So all of these techniques intertwined into the choreography along with a set of 52 moves and it’s meant to stimulate the body and to find health through movement. So you’re stimulating all the body systems, like the musculatory system, the skeletal system, the limbic system, the circulatory system, and so on. The whole time you’re doing that, a class will last about an hour and fifteen minutes, depending on the instructor, the whole time you’re doing that, you don’t realize that you’re really cleansing your body and you’re opening up some tension and releasing—you’re opening up yourself in a lot more ways than just a physical way. I relate to it because I’m a really emotional person and I find a lot of emotion in the dance when I’m doing it. I find that exciting.

 

 

Q: What are the origins of Nia as a whole?

Brandy: Yes, Debby Rosas and Carlos Rosas, they were fitness instructors in the 1970s and in the 1980s, to be specific, in 81 when Nia was actually founded, they did research and studies on kinesthetics and body movements on what was most healthy and what was the most appropriate way to move your body to stay healthy without getting hurt. Because what they were finding was in their work, is that people were getting injured. Fitness was a really big thing, aerobics was a really big thing in the early 80s, but people were getting hurt. So they wanted to find a safe way to move your body. So this is how they incorporated Nia. They’re very close with all the instructors; it’s a growing community but it started as a very small, close knit community. Everybody who has gone through a Nia training is very close. It’s like a little family.

 

 

Q: Is it local to the area?

Brandy: It’s all over the world right now, Germany, Australia, it’s all over. Asia, all over those big continents. It started and originated where Debby and Carlos live, out west in Portland, Oregon.

 

 

Q: How did you get exposed to it?

Brandy: Okay, so, I was going through a life situation that was really traumatic. I mean, people have gone through worse things, I’m sure, but to me, in this moment, it was a very difficult time for me. I didn’t know where I was going with my life. And so my mom was taking this class, she had heard about it locally, she said, “Come and dance Nia class with me. You’ll feel a lot better.” So I went to a Nia class, my first class, with my teacher Pam La Blanch, of the Fit Biz—just saying, since we’re writing this all down, I’ll give her a little Kudos there—I love Pam, she’s an amazing, amazing woman—so I took my first class there and I loved it and I just fell in love with it. I don’t know why, but it was fantastic. The sensation that I got was one of the first principles of Nia, the joy of movement. I really felt that sensation—I felt joyful when I was dancing. It was a great outlet for me to express myself, my emotions, to build my confidence in a time that was trying for me.

 

 

Q: Your advertisements say “Gentle Yoga.” What kind of yoga is it?

Brandy: So having Nia certification opened up many doors. I found something new in my life that I loved. I started, what I thought would be my career in music therapy, which didn’t come through I guess, or didn’t happen—didn’t happen the way I thought it would. So I was really interested in therapies and healing and being a better person and helping people through that. With the instruction of Nia and being around that type of people all the time, I was introduced to Yoga Fit. Again, Yoga Fit was offering our community of Nia instructors—they offered Yoga Fit and I got the training for that and the certification. I started teaching yoga, and it seemed to just all go hand-in-hand.

 

 

Q: What is the target age range and ability for the yoga classes?

Brandy: Age range is for anybody. I do have a kids’ class on Saturdays, and that would be probably ages 3 to 6, depending on the attention level of the children and also for the older ones, if they’re 6, how tolerant they are of the younger ones. For the adult classes, any age, any ability. The class that I teach is really very relaxed and easy to do, so it’s very basic yoga, like yoga for the everyday busy person. Come and relax, stretch your body, breath in, breath out a little bit, and just feel good.

 

 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in starting a business? 

Brandy: Oh boy. I have a lot of advice! I was thinking, I could teach people probably how to start a business ‘cause I’ve done everything wrong probably. I came into this not knowing anything, just, like I said, it just happened, and I was like, “Yay, one day, just open a studio!” I have a lot of passion and I think that’s great and I need that for it, but there were a lot of things I didn’t know. So, first things first—and forgive me, all professional entrepreneurs out there! I think that, to have your finances in order, to know what everything is going to cost, and line that up first. Don’t just jump into it like I did. I mean, that’s great. It’s exciting to do that, but to—I had to take care of things while I was trying to start the business and it was too difficult. Things such as getting the electric bill in my name and transfer over. Everything was a surprise, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing! I thought, Oh I just call and change my name. But no, they need all kinds of stuff. They need application, they need the lease, they have a deposit and things like that. So I would definitely, number one, make a list of all the things you need to be productive and to keep the business running, and make sure you have that all in place first. So, with hindsight, I think that probably you would need a couple of months to prepare, just to open a business or start your business, you need some time to prepare. There’s so many other things, but that would be my number one. And then organizing your clients, getting some advertisements and marketing set and put in place, because if you’re doing that while you’re starting your business, it’s challenging. So do it ahead of time. You can call me for more advice later.

 

Q: Will there be a fee?

Brandy: Yes. (laughter)

 

Check out You In Motion studio’s calendar  for a complete schedule of classes and events. You can also contact Brandy directly at cnyinmotion@gmail.com

Photo Friday: Pineapple on Salina

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 18, 2017

Pineapple

Photo Friday: Summer Green

Written by admin  • August 4, 2017

Photo Friday_Green

Community Appreciation Picnic: July 18

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • July 12, 2017

Appreciation picnic

WHAT: Annual Community Appreciation Picnic

WHEN: Tuesday, July 18 from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Clinton Playlot on the corner of Gertrude and Lodi Streets

NEHDA and the Syracuse Northeast Community Center (SNCC) are combining their community picnics this year to celebrate all of the city officials, partner organizations, and neighbors that are dedicated to helping the Northside thrive. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit NEHDA’s website or join the Facebook invite.

Interested in volunteering at the event? Contact Lexie at lkwiek@snccsyr.org.

 

 

World Refugee Day Events: June 20

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • June 12, 2017

WRD

WHAT: World Refugee Day Community Orientation About Inclusion and the Refugee Experience

WHEN: Tuesday, June 20 from 2:00 – 5:00 PM

WHERE: CNY Philanthropy Center, 431 E. Fayette Street

During this orientation, individuals throughout the community will participate in a presentation and panel discussion to explore “the everyday issues and concerns faced by refugees; the institutions, facilities, and agencies that support New Americans, and the ways that an engaged citizenry can help newcomers to our communities.” The event begins with a conversation addressing “Who are Refugees and Why Receive Them?” from Abdul Saboor, former refugee and Match Grant Coordinator at InterFaithWorks, and our own Dominic Robinson, Vice President of Economic Inclusion at CenterState CEO.

Following the conversation, a panel of service providers for the refugee community will address “What Does it Mean to Effectively Serve Refugees in Syracuse?” featuring Christina Costello, Director of Health Services ay Catholic Charities of Onondaga County; Janet Lenkiewicz, Case Manager at Onondaga County Department of Social Services Economic Security; Jacki Leroy, Director of ENL Services at the Syracuse City School District; Habiba Boru, Job Developer at RISE Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment; and Shelly Tsai, Staff Attorney at Legal Services of CNY.

This event is free, but attendees must register in advance here. For a full description of the event, click here and follow the Facebook event for more information.

 

WHAT: World Refugee Day Celebration: “Come as Strangers, Leave as Friends”

WHEN: Tuesday, June 20 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM

WHERE: Dr. Weeks Elementary School, 710 Hawley Ave.

Celebrate “culture, community, and cuisine” at this family-friendly event, featuring food, entertainment, and a welcoming address from Mayor Stephanie Miner.

You must register for this event here. A donation of at least $1 is required to attend. For more information, follow the Facebook invite.

 

Both World Refugee Day events are brought to you by InterFaith Works, Refugee & Immigrant Self-empowerment (RISE), Providence Services of Syracuse, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, Legal Services of CNY, Volunteers Lawyer Project, and the Onondaga County Bar Association.

CYO’S Refugee Youth Program Presents: A Celebration of Refugee Success

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • June 7, 2017

Photo credit: CCOC blog

 

WHAT: Syracuse United: A Celebration of Refugee Success

WHEN: Sunday, June 11 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. — rain or shine

WHERE: Nottingham High School on the Varsity Sports Fields (3100 E. Genesee Street)

The Refugee Youth Program of Catholic Charity’s CYO has organized a family-friendly event this Sunday to celebrate the refugee community and the many cultures in our neighborhoods. This free event features live singing and dancing, comedy performances, arts and crafts for kids, a silent auction, fashion show, displays celebrating the athletic and educational achievements of different students, and more. Ethnic food and henna art will be available for purchase during the event and all proceeds will benefit the CYO.

For more information, visit Catholic Charity’s blog or join the Facebook event.

On the Calendar: Festival of the Arts, Culture Gala, and a Bike Ride Fundraiser

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 3, 2017

Events

 

This May, our friends at the St. Marianne Cope Shrine & Museum, Hopeprint, and ArtRage are all planning special events this month.

 

Festival of the Arts

WHEN: Saturday, May 6 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

WHERE: St. Marianne Cope Shrine & Museum, 601 N. Townsend Street

The Festival of the Arts celebrates “the art of dance, cuisine, painting, language, music, and gardening” on the anniversary of St. Joseph’s Hospital opening day in 1869. The Shrine & Museum will feature exhibits, displays, and workshops during the event that showcase the creativity of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. Workshops include lessons in the ukulele and Hula dancing. $10 donation is suggested at the door, but not required. For a full list of details, visit SaintMarianne.org. Stay up-to-date on the event, by joining the Facebook invite.

 

Hopeprint’s Culture Gala 2017

WHEN: Friday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: SKY Armory, 351 S. Clinton Street

Hopeprint’s annual fundraiser features a cocktail hour, five-course meal, entertainment, and an afterparty. The meal “highlight[s] the flavors of the world at our doorstep” and is influenced by chef consultants for the Hopeprint family to ensure the flavors of their culture come through. As guests enjoy dinner, the stage is filled with ethnic dance and music performances, culminating in a “multi-cultural” dance party. For ticket information, including a student discount, visit Hopeprint.org. Stay up-to-date on the event, by joining the Facebook invite.

 

Re-cycling History: ArtRageous Bike Ride Fundraiser

WHEN: Sunday, May 21 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave.

Re-cycling History is a fundraiser to help support ArtRage’s mission and educate the community about the history of social justice in our area. There are three routes to choose from when registering for the bike ride with different destination points for each: Skä•noñh – Great Law of Peace Center is an 11 mile ride; Matilda Joslyn Gage House is a 20 mile ride; and Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum is a 38 mile ride. Each site will feature a short presentation before the return-trip back to ArtRage gallery to enjoy lunch and the current exhibit, AT ALL COSTS: Photographs of American Workers by Earl Dotter. Registration begins at $25. To learn more about Re-cycling History, visit ArtRageGallery.org. Stay up-to-date on the event, by joining the Facebook invite.

Photo Friday: Blooms at the Ready

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 24, 2017

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I-81 Redesign: Next Steps for the Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 15, 2017

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Thank you to everyone who advocated for the Northside and asked the DOT to reexamine the negative impacts the I-81 redesign would have on our neighborhood! Your support gave weight to the discussions our neighborhood stakeholders group held with members of DOT and public officials. With the project put in a holding pattern to allow for an outside review of options, we are expecting DOT will develop more sensitive solutions for the highway north of I-690.

This project is still ongoing and we expect there may be times when we’ll need to inform the community and ask for your help. If you’re interested in these updates, join our “Save the Northside: I-81 Impacts” email list so that we can easily get back in touch with you!

For more information about our efforts during the I-81 redesign, click here.

InterFaith Works Honors Individuals Dedicated to Ending Racism

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 13, 2017

InterFaith Racial Justice Awards

WHAT: InterFaith Works’ 2017 Racial Justice Awards

WHEN: Wednesday, March 1 at 5:30 PM

WHERE: Syracuse Stage, 820 E. Genessee Street, Syracuse

TICKETS:  Please reserve your tickets by Friday, February 17th. The suggested ticket donation is between $30 and $150. Any gift above $30 is tax-deductible. Purchase your tickets securely online. Or, print a ticket reservation form. Questions?  Contact Gwen Sanders at 315-449-3552, ext. 119, or email her at gsanders@interfaithworkscny.org.

Racial Justice Awards is InterFaith Works‘ annual event to recognize and honor individuals and organizations who work towards ending racism and promoting social equity. This year’s honorees include,

Zau Jat N-Hkum will receive the Youth Award for the different ways he has stood up against homophobia, Islamophobia, and racism in Syracuse schools.

Judge Jawwaad Rasheed will receive the Catalyst Award for his work in the community, including his role as the co-director of the Junior Frontiers of Mohawk Valley, an African-American civic organization with the goal of providing support to minority children.

Laurel Ullyette will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to supporting international and transracial adoption.

The Brady Faith Center will receive the Organizational Award for their work as an “Oasis for Peace, Hope, and Justice” on Syracuse’s South Side.

To learn more about the nominees and see all the event details, visit InterFaithWorksCNY.org. The ceremony and reception will be followed by Syracuse Stage’s production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ at 7:30 p.m.

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