The Virtual Dance Party that Saved Lives

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Just as OneMama was originally birthed from incredible loss, Marti Rule shares how she turned her own disappointment into opportunity to make a positive impact.

The pandemic has greatly impacted everyone over the last year, and the OneMama Health Clinic is no different. So, when one our OneMama delegates did a fundraiser that would go on to raise $3000 and quite literally help keep the OneMama doors open… the OneMama team was left in awe.

We are THRILLED to share this special story and interview with our readers and followers and to celebrate and honor our incredible Action Hero in action!

Q: How did you get the idea? Have you seen others do something like this?

A: Stop Drop and Dance (thepowerwithgrace.com) workout was one of my Pandemic Silver Linings! When the shutdowns started in March 2020 – exactly the week that we were planning to be in NYC with 10,000 other women at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Conference. When the conference was abruptly cancelled, I was depressed and crushed at the loss of the opportunity. I had been so excited to make an impact and see how I could support One Mama and learn more about supporting women in developing countries.

The workout class was originally held in a yoga studio in San Anselmso, CA, but had to quickly pivot to online classes Via Zoom. 

One of my work colleagues had been raving about the class – she was a regular – and she created a donation class to raise funds for the coworking space and women’s empowerment/inspiration community where we worked that had to abruptly close due to the pandemic in March. For this donation class, instead of paying the class price, participants would donate any amount and attend the class online. Because of the reach of Zoom, people from all over the Bay Area and supporters from around the country could participate. This was my first introduction to the class, and it was SO MUCH FUN! The instructor choregraphs easy to follow dance moves to current pop and hip-hop playlist for about 60 minutes. 

Since then, many of the class participants have created donation classes for causes ranging from the local Food Bank to breast cancer research. 

Last March, when I learned I wouldn’t be able to attend the UN Conference in person as a OneMama delegate, I decided I would donate some of the travel expenses I would have incurred. When I finally got around to it in Feb. 2021, I combined my contribution with the idea of multiplying it with a birthday fundraiser. 

Empowering women in developing countries is a passion for me. The idea of making an impact while throwing myself a party seemed like a fun and fulfilling way to celebrate!

Q: When was it? How much did you raise? Any details of actually putting together your fundraiser you would like to share?

A: My birthday was on Feb. 8, and knowing that I wouldn’t be able to celebrate in person with friends and family, it seemed a great way to connect with friends I hadn’t seen in a year (or longer). I chose the Saturday morning class on Feb 6 before my birthday to have my dance party.

I reached out to all my girlfriend groups to come dance – far flung college friends, my book club, my work friends, neighbourhood mom friends, and even my East Coast daughter recruited her 20-something friends to participate. Since the class was open to all, I also promoted it on social media and the Stop, Drop and Dance leader promoted it on her site and social media as well. 

Siobhan made a cameo appearance via Zoom at the start of the class to thank everyone and share a bit about OneMama. 

We had about 50 people participate – 30 on Zoom and about 20 in person at the local outdoor site the teacher uses for classes – an office building parking garage! We were all distanced and wearing masks and I was able to dance a few of the songs on camera with the instructor. I had never done a 60-minute high cardio dance class wearing a face mask before. I was so out of breath!

It was really thrilling and touching for me to see how many friends turned up on the Zoom call – really fun to see their faces too! And many who couldn’t make the actual event donated anyway. I offered to match all donations up to $1000, so we raised about $1900 from the dance party, and I donated the balance.

We raised a total of $3000!


Q: Why are you passionate about the work that OneMama does? And why did you decide to pick our organization for your fundraiser? Do you have any personal connections or stories you would like to share related to why you picked OneMama.org to as your cause to support?

I met Siobhan about 10 years ago at event where she was showcasing the OneMama clothing line and the ShaBoom make up – both businesses that support the maternal health clinic and community programs in Uganda. I was so impressed that Siobhan had developed these businesses and was working to make OneMama self-sustainable. I also loved Siobhan’s focus on finding JOY and serving others.

A few years later, I invited Siobhan to be a speaker at the Marin Teen Girl Conference (an annual empowerment conference for 300 girls in grades 8-12). She shared her vision on turning a personal tragedy into an opportunity to serve others and her philosophy on Fighting for Your Joy. It was a wonderful eye opener for the young women to see a life experience so different from their own and to learn about the work of One Mama. Siobhan’s talk was a hit with the girls – it was one of the most popular workshops of the entire conference! Siobhan returned to speak at the conference for two more years!

OneMama continues to hold a special place in my heart. The reach and success of the program on such a small budget has always impressed me ,and I’ve contributed as I can over the years. Knowing that OneMama has accomplished so much with a small team inspired me to help raise funds to help – especially during Covid.

Q: We would love if you would share some encouragement for others wanting to do a fundraiser too. Tell us about the logistics of putting an event like this together. Could anyone do it? How would they get started putting together an event?

A: You could turn almost anything into a fundraiser and doing it for a cause you are passionate about is super motivating! Think about all the things you have done on Zoom in the past year – Watercolor class? Wine tasting? Cooking class? Yoga? Trivia Night? See if the instructor would be amenable to doing a donation class. It’s a win-win, it introduces the activity to a wider audience and friends can get together for a good cause! In my case, the party giver is responsible for the instructor fees/class costs, or the fees can be deducted from the proceeds. 

Facebook makes it easy to do a birthday fundraiser, and they don’t charge any credit card fees.

I think the key is to make it fun and EASY for people to participate. The main work is the outreach and reminders to get people signed up (and the donation is the sign up, so it was simple!). 

Q: Can you share some thoughts on adapting to the current times and still making an impact?

A: People generally want to help and to make a difference. Many of us felt helpless to make an impact in the face of the overwhelming loss of the past year. 

Sharing and promoting the event gave me the opportunity to tell others about the women and families in Uganda who could benefit so much from what to us is a small contribution. My friends felt good about making an impact for other mamas across the globe.

I was honored that they donated on my behalf – it was the BEST birthday gift!


You are an OneMama Action Hero, Marti.
We are so thankful to those that participated and donated to this fundraiser.

If you are interested in holding a similar type of fundraiser for OneMama or you have another idea on how to contribute to OneMama, please reach out, we would love to hear from you.

How Can You Get Involved?

To donate to OneMama’s programs, click here.

If you are interested to be a OneMama UN Delegate, click here.

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