By Rick Weinberg, California Business Journal
Email: Rick@CalBizJournal.com / Mobile: 949-648-3815
HOW IS THIS FOR CREATIVITY: WHEN PASCALE ROTHMAN OPENED UEvolution, an innovative and unique fitness and wellness center in downtown Los Angeles, she was adamant about establishing strong ties and giving back to the local downtown community, particularly non-profits.
Today, she isn’t just “giving back.” She is giving back to the people who are giving back to the community.
“I wanted to do something special and unique, and when this idea popped into my mind, I went, ‘Yeah, this is it. This is good, this is different,’” Rothman says.
“Giving back is a huge element of UEvolution’s philosophy on improving your mind and body, so I figured, ‘Why not give back to the people who are giving back?’ It made sense.”
Rothman’s first target was the Midnight Mission in downtown LA, a non-profit that has spent 100 years rehabilitating the homeless. Rothman knew the facility had many volunteers — people who had been giving back — and giving so much of themselves — for years.
“If you look at how hard the mission’s employees work and what they are sacrificing to make a difference in other people’s lives, they can sometime neglect themselves,” Rothman points out.
“And, because of their limited budget and since the mission is a non-profit in the truest sense of the word, we wanted to do something meaningful for the employees there.”
Rothman pauses for a moment and adds: “These kinds of people are giving and giving all the time, and when you do that, your focus turns from helping them to not helping yourself. You’re spending so much time building them back up that you need help and encouragement to build yourself back up.”
So, in June, Rothman held an event at UEvolution for the Midnight Mission staff that included massages, manicures, hair styling, nutrition seminars, healthy food provided by Sunfare, pilates classes, and a TRX class.
“What Pascale did for us – and continues to do for us — is genuinely unbelievable. Her heart is a big as the state of California.”
He quickly adds, “No, it’s actually bigger than that.”
The Midnight Mission employees had the time of their lives as they were pampered everywhere they turned — from new hairstyles to relaxed muscles and reduced stress to learning about nutritional foods.
“This was a great experience,” the Mission’s Valerie Mayers says. “I have never received such special, preferential treatment. I learned so much.”
Her voice cracks with emotion. She pauses for a moment and says, “It’s such a gift to meet someone like Pascale. I’d never heard of someone giving back to the people who are already giving back. It’s such an amazing idea and concept. We owe a lot to her.”
As massages take place in one corner of the facility, and palates in another, UEvolution’s Meghan O’Donoghue begins conducting a health seminar, making sure the mission’s employees learn and understand the importance of proper nutrition.
“We basically want to give them a taste of what wellness is all about and how to take care of themselves better from a nutritional perspective,” she says.
As her audience looks on in anticipation, O’Donoghue says, “Healthy eating does not have to be expensive. It does not need to be out of your financial reach. If you’re motivated enough, you can find ways to make yourself eat healthier.”
Heads nod in agreement.
O’Donoghue points out that the hot new trendy downtown LA area is all about health and nutrition. There are Farmer’s Markets on virtually every other corner, places where fresh organic fruits, vegetables and foods can be purchased.
Her key message: “Avoid preservative-based foods.”
UEvolution’s philosophy is not about taking away the food an individual loves and prefers. It simply about preparing it – and buying it – in a healthier manner.
“If your thing is cheeseburgers, we know a way to make it healthier,” O’Donoghue tells her engaged audience. “We want you to eat more naturally instead of going to fast-food establishments. Know where your food is coming from. Make a conscious chose to know of what you are putting in your body.”
Later, O’Donoghue says, “There is a huge misconception that you have to give up the food you love in order to eat healthier. You don’t. You just have to put in a little extra effort to buy your food and prepare it in a healthier way.”
O’Donoghue stares at her audience in silence. “This is something you can absolutely do,” she says. “You can eat the things you love and stay healthy, and you can buy it all for an affordable price.”
As the event came to a close, Rothman says, “Watching people’s eye light up when they realize and see how easy everything is, it was so great and rewarding. People tend to curl up inside themselves in a case like this. But that was not case tonight. It was a very engaging crowd. It was so interactive and so refreshing. It showed how they care about applying these principals to their life.”
Says Navales: “It’s true. Sometimes you feel all of these issues are overwhelming – eating right, exercising, taking better care of yourself. But Pascale, Meghan and the other folks involved in the event made it very simple. They helped us all understand how easy it is to change your life … for the better.”
Contact Pascale Rothman and UEvolution
621 S Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014