Omega in Action | Omega

Omega in Action

Omega in Action highlights inspiring people and organizations making meaningful change. From protecting the environment to empowering women, healing veterans, and serving nonprofits, you'll find fresh perspectives, trending news, and the latest information on noteworthy events here at Omega and around the world.

27 Nonprofits Receive Retreat Grants From Omega To Strategize On How To Survive And Keep Thriving

2 years 6 months ago

Omega’s 9th Annual Service Week to Focus on Nonprofits Reinforcing a Broad Range of Social Services, Including Those Supporting Strength & Safety for Women & Girls in the Mid-Hudson Valley & Beyond

RHINEBECK, NY – As service-oriented nonprofits struggle to survive in the current budget-slashing environment, Omega is offering 27 nonprofits the opportunity for much needed planning retreats where they can develop solutions to the challenge of balancing high demands and low resources. For the ninth consecutive year, Omega has offered grants to its nonprofit peers to participate in their own strategic planning retreats at Omega’s 200-acre campus in Rhinebeck, New York. Since its inception, approximately 184 organizations and 3,178 people have participated in this unique retreat grant program. Omega’s annual Service Week is comprised of two sessions. The first session focuses on Mid-Hudson Valley nonprofits that address social service, social justice, and safety-net needs. The second session brings together nonprofits that serve women and girls for a unique experienced called the Women Serving Women Summit.

“At a time when nonprofits that provide safety net services are forced to do more with less, our Service Week grants provide a rare opportunity for these organizations to get out of the office and take a step back from the front line of their work to plan, network, and build capacity,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer at Omega and cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center. “The 2013 Women Serving Women Summit focuses on organizations working to ensure the safety of women and girls since their well-being and ability to thrive is crucial to worldwide social, political, and economic development,” concluded Goldstein.

All grantees are awarded two-day, two-night organizational retreats that include free room and board, a private meeting space, use of all the facilities at Omega, and a consultation with Omega’s partner, the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON). NYCON will also host a roundtable on fundraising.

“The positive value and impact of Service Week on grantee nonprofits and the communities they serve becomes more evident each year. Today’s service and business challenges are many, and Omega has truly stepped up to help—contributing space, support, and opportunity that only Omega can provide,” said Doug Sauer, chief executive officer of NYCON.

Omega’s Service Week program is divided into two distinct sessions:

Session 1) 9th Annual Service Week, May 27–May 29. For nearly a decade, Omega has been committed to serving those who serve others through its annual Service Week grant program. Grantee organizations can utilize the time to develop strategic plans, cultivate relationships among their board members and with other nonprofits on campus, re-engage with their mission statement, deepen staff cooperation, and enjoy some much needed peace and relaxation. Service Week is funded in part by a grant from the Dyson Foundation that supports Mid-Hudson Valley nonprofits.

“Our participation in Service Week truly set the foundation for development within our organization. The backbone for a broad organization strategic plan that we formed at Omega has positioned us to take important steps toward implementation,” said Milan Bhatt, executive director at Worker Justice Center of New York, participants in the 2012 Service Week.

Session 2) 3rd Annual Women Serving Women Summit, May 29–31. The only nonprofit leadership retreat of its kind, the Women Serving Women Summit, a convening of nonprofits working to improve the lives of women and girls, is an integral part of the Service Week program. Coordinated by the Omega Women’s Leadership Center, the theme of this year’s summit, Building Safety & Strength, brings together national and regional organizations serving the needs and interests of women and girls.

“The 2012 summit was such an incredible opportunity for us to get away from the daily work of our organizations and see our staff and board not just in their work roles, but as people,” said Emily May, cofounder and executive director of Hollaback!, which is participating in the Summit again this year.

Omega is pleased to award 2013 Service Week retreat grants to the following organizations, which are actively engaged in creating a more compassionate and sustainable world:

9th Annual Service Week Grantees:

Mid-Hudson Valley Organizations:

  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters
  • Dutchess County Arts Council
  • Eastern Dutchess Community Coalition
  • Headstart of Eastern Orange County
  • Literacy Connections
  • NAACP: Northern Dutchess County
  • NorthEast Community Center
  • ReThink Local
  • Rosendale Theater Collective
  • Taconic Resources for Independence
  • Wild Earth

Additional Organizations:

  • Legal Aid, Juvenile Rights Division
  • Press Pass TV

3rd Annual Women Serving Women Summit Grantees:

Mid-Hudson Valley Organizations:

  • Family of Woodstock
  • Family Services
  • TMI Project
  • Grace Smith House
  • Healthcare is a Human Right
  • Mill Street Loft
  • Safe Homes of Orange County

Additional Organizations:

  • Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
  • GirlTrek
  • Hollaback!
  • New Harlem Renaissance Work Group
  • Powerstories
  • School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA)
  • Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls

For more information about Omega’s annual Service Week event and the grant program, please contact Marta Szabo, at 845.266.4444, ext. 403, or by email at

For information about the Women Serving Women Summit or Omega Women’s Leadership Center, please contact Sarah Urech, at 845.266.4444, ext. 412, or by email at

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.



Biomimicry Solves Human Problems by Copying Nature

2 years 6 months ago

Bullet-proof skin inspired by spider-silk? Pharmaceuticals discovered by chimps? Self-cleaning surfaces and solar cells based on leaves? This may sound like science fiction, but it’s innovation inspired by nature, also known as the science of biomimicry. Janine Benyus, president of the Biomimicry Institute and part of Omega’s annual sustainability conference, Where We Go From Here, defines this developing field as a “science that studies nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems.” A recent article in Business Pundit describes 10 amazing scientific advances due to the discovery of “new and interesting ways to steal Nature’s intellectual property” through biomimicry. 

Read the article

Learn more about the Where We Go From Here conference

Elizabeth Lesser to Speak in Newtown, Connecticut

2 years 6 months ago

Omega cofounder Elizabeth Lesser and Episcopalian priest Reverent Ed Bacon will present a talk, Finding Your Invincible Summer, on May 9 at Newtown Middle School. The talk will help support the healing of a community torn apart by the deadly shooting of December 14, 2012. Drawing from a quote from Albert Camus, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer,” Lesser and Bacon will offer hope that the community can move on in a way that honors the victims, the grieving process, and the promise of the future. The event is organized by the now-nationwide group Sandy Hook Promise, founded by Newtown friends and neighbors to heal and be part of the conversation about violence in America. The talk begins at 7:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

Learn more about Sandy Hook Promise

Learn more about this week's event

Keeping Your Balance When Serving Others

2 years 6 months ago

As part of the Yoga Service Interview Series, Beryl Bender Birch talks with Rob Schware about finding the balance between giving out and holding back when doing the work of yoga service. “Kind of like a star—finding balance between two opposing forces,” she says. “Thermonuclear fusion at the core of a star creates immense heat and radiates outward. Gravity tends to collapse the star. These two energies are in constant play with one another—they go back and forth between inward-pulling gravity and outward-pushing radiative heat. That's why stars twinkle. We are stars. Every element in our bodies was created in a star. We are destined to twinkle.”

Read the full interview

Beryl Bender Birch and Rob Schware are part of the Yoga Service Conference, June 7–9 

Veterans Find Peaceful Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress

2 years 6 months ago

For more than 20 years, Omega has been engaged with veterans and family members dealing with the after-effects of war known as post-traumatic stress. We recently hosted The Costs of War, Violence & Denial: A Retreat for Veterans Living With Post-Traumatic Stress on our Rhinebeck, New York campus. The annual retreat is led by Vietnam veteran, author, and Zen Buddhist monk, Claude AnShin Thomas and welcomes veterans, their family and friends to attend on scholarship. Columbia University’s Uptown Radio host, Alexandra Hall, attended the retreat and interviewed Thomas and some of the retreat participants about their experience dealing with the physical and spiritual wounds of war.

Listen to the interview here.

Bringing Mind-Body Practices to the Military: A Growing Trend

2 years 7 months ago

The future of health care in America is integrative medicine. Things like mind-body practices, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and other complementary practices are here to stay. In this interview, Kevin Berry, MD, the vice president for military medical research at Samueli Institute and a faculty member of Omega’s Veterans, Trauma, and Treatment Conference, talks about how more than 50 percent of the men and women who serve in the United States military are now using integrative medicine to improve their performance and their lives in this recent interview with Huffington Post.

Read the interview on Huffington Post

Leran more about the Veterans, Trauma & Treatment Conference

BeadforLife & Maya Azucena Launch The Opportunity Tour

2 years 7 months ago

Omega sponsor BeadforLife, an organization working to create sustainable opportunities to lift women and their families out of extreme poverty, is thrilled to bring two inspirational women, Joan and Teddy, from Uganda to America for the first time ever. Throughout the month of April they will share their stories in six cities across the United States. The Opportunity Tour first launched in Bolder Colorado, where Omega faculty member Maya Azucena, an award-winning singer, activist, and cultural ambassador, performed. Maya first learned of BeadforLife during Omega's 2012 Women & Power conference, and later joined them on a recent trip to Uganda as an ambassador.

Watch Joan & Teddy's Inspiring Story

Learn more about BeadforLife's meaningful work

Earth Day Every Day

2 years 7 months ago

We love our planet—that's why we think of every day as Earth Day. Omega's teachers agree, and they've got some suggestions for how you can make small changes in your life that will make a difference for all of us. Check out their tips then share your suggestions with us.

Watch the video.

Omega Dining Hall is 3-Star Green Dining

2 years 7 months ago

Meal time at Omega is a community event. Our Dining Hall is a place to join new friends, talk about the day's events, and share unique experiences. And because we're a 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant, guests can also be assured we're making the most sustainable choices possible when it comes to sourcing, cooking, delivering, storing, and composting our food.

We are certified by the Green Restaurant Association, who has been certifying restaurants for the past two decades. Potential restaurants must meet certain standards in the following categories:



  • Water Efficiency
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Sustainable Furnishings and Building Materials
  • Sustainable Food
  • Energy
  • Disposables
  • Chemical and Pollution Reduction

How to Talk to Your Kids About Terrorism

2 years 7 months ago

Should you make your kids talk about a tragic event like the Boston Marathon bombing? Should you let them watch or listen to the news? What do you do when your child tells you he or she is scared? Xavier Amador, PhD, a clinical psychologist and professor at Teachers College Columbia University in New York City, is frequently asked these questions during times of tragedy. He's put together some basic guidelines to help parents and teachers work with kids during times of collective trauma. 

Read the complete article.

Study with Xavier Amador at Omega.


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