LOVE THE LIFE YOU LIVE,
LIVE THE LIFE YOU LOVE.
Anything is possible for those who Believe
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In 2011, I was a freshman at Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. During my freshman year of college, I was traveling home to Long Island almost every day to be with my family and to help my mom run her Pilates studio, Hot Pilates Secret, as she was battling stage four breast cancer. The hardest day of my life was on August 22, 2012, when my beautiful mom passed away. My mom was my best friend who I was able to talk to about anything and everything at anytime of the day. My mom wasn’t the super strict parent or the lenient one either. She was my perfectly imperfect mother who I just loved to be around and wanted to show off to my friends. Everyday, my mom told me that she loved me. Everything she did, she did with love. All of her words were spoken with love, all of her actions were done with love. She was always my angel on earth and now she is my angel in heaven. I was so lost after losing my best friend. I returned to school a few days later but it wasn't the right time for me to be there. I needed the time to grieve. I decided to leave school to continue her legacy with Hot Pilates Secret and her Dance Barn studio and to help my dad raise my 9 year old sister and 15 year old brother.
"she believed she could, so she did"
In December of 2012, I created a workshop in my mom's honor called She Taught. My intentions for She Taught were to teach young girls the life lessons that my mom taught me. At these workshops, time was dedicated to help young children of all different ages to focus on the things that they are thankful for, things that make them happy and how to obtain their dreams for their future. She Taught workshops were filled with group interaction, activities, and meditation. Between 50-70 girls would show up to these workshops! The journey with She Taught has been amazing and so special.
Hot Pilates Secret, is my second home. I never leave there in anything but a good mood. My team at Hot Pilates Secret is filled with people that I couldn't picture my life without. When my mom owned Hot Pilates Secret, it was only her and her two friends that taught the class she created. I completed my 200 hr yoga teacher training my senior year of high school with Patricia from the Little Yoga House. After completing it, I decided to stick to teaching kids yoga... adults scared me a bit! One month before my mom passed away, I told her I was ready to teach her class. She sat with me in the sunroom of my home teaching me. I taught my first class to friends, and I can't even tell you what I taught.. I was so nervous. I came home and told my mom all about it. The next day, my mom wakes me up, "Kaley, can you teach with me this morning?" Stage four breast cancer, and she was still teaching pilates. I really did not want to do it. I didn't feel ready at all and like I said before, adults scared me. I couldn't say no to my mom though. She had a way of always getting me to get out of my comfort zone. I got to HPS with her for that 9:45am class, and said, "I'll teach the beginning yoga section and then you teach the pilates and meditation." I began teaching with so many butterflies in my stomach, but I had my mom right there on the mat next to me. When I finished teaching, I looked to my mom and said, "your turn." She gave me a headshake and said, "Keep going." When my mom passed, I felt in my heart that I should continue the beautiful thing that my mom began. I reopened her studio five days after she passed away and taught her class. It was tough. I was crying, everyone in the class was crying. But together, we all became stronger.
In 2014, we had our first ever Hot Pilates Secret Teacher Training. We now have 8 incredibly awesome people teaching Hot Pilates Secret. Love my tribe so much!!!
When I think about the amount of love that surrounded my family to help us get through such a difficult time, I feel thankful, inspired, and moved. This love that people gave my family is what inspired me to create People Help the People. My charity mission for People Help the People is to help a family or someone who is going through something tough and to help them out financially through donation based Hot Pilates Secret classes and/or different community events. Over the past few months, we have helped 5 families. The last family we helped was a 12 year old boy named Jake from Merrick, NY who is fighting stomach cancer. We had 2 events for him and his family. We sent lots of healing thoughts their way and raised over $13,000 for them. Amazing what can happen when People Help the People. If you know someone who is the definition of kindness, strength, and love and are in need support... click here to tell me about them!
Over the past four years, I also continued my mom's dance studio, the Dance Barn. When my little sister, Keira, was born in 2003, my mom wanted her to have great dancing memories. She didn't want my sister to be a part of a studio that had a stressful environment and be a part of high costume fees, and competitive competitions. She just wanted it to be about the joy of dancing. Dance classes for Keira began one Saturday morning with our cousin Abby in our home studio. In 2007, my mom fell in love with a house in Wantagh, New York. This house had a beat up barn in the backyard. My mom began to dream about the amazing things this barn could be. A few months later, we were moving into this home. My mom turned the barn into a beautiful dance studio and was making her dream into a reality.
Our first recital was in 2008, right in our backyard. Our recitals have been something super special. All of the parents brought lawn chairs and picnic baskets and watched as their child danced barefoot on the grass in our backyard. There were no ticket fees or fancy costumes - everyone was dressed with smiles (including the dads)! What started as one saturday morning class for my sister became something so much more... a Dance Barn family began.
This past winter, my dad was diagnosed with a 9/11 related cancer. He received chemo and had a big operation in February of 2016 at Sloan. This was a really tough time, I prayed to God and my mom every day to keep my dad strong and healthy. My siblings and I need him on this earth!! My dad was at sloan for 22 days. When he came home, he had to rethink his life and decided to sell our house, my mom's dream home. With Dance Barn being part of our home, I had to say goodbye to it. I am feeling so grateful and lucky that my dad believed in me to continue Dance Barn and I have been holding on to it to keep what my mom created alive. I am thankful for everyone who has been part of the Dance Barn Family, for they have made this home so special and have given my family a gift to be able to share my moms love.
With saying goodbye to the Dance Barn, it made me really think about how my mom had a dream and created it. Before my mom passed, I had so many dreams of what I wanted to do and be. When she passed, I put myself into her shoes and got a little off track of my own dreams. I have no regrets in doing this because I was able to spend so much time with my sister, my brother, and my dad. I feel so lucky to have been surrounded by the positive communities of Hot Pilates Secret, Dance Barn, She Taught, and lululemon.
At age 23, I am now ready to continue my education and return to school. I am excited for the adventure ahead. I will be writing about this new life chapter Here: What She's Doing
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PEOPLE HELP THE PEOPLE
HOT PILATES SECRET
SHE BELIEVED SHE COULD, SO SHE DID.
HOT PILATES SECRET
HOT PILATES SECRET