Over the years Bikram yoga instructor and studio owner Nicole Gogolak was aware of friends struggling to care for children with Autism. In order to show her support, Gogolak set up a class on Saturdays at Bikram Yoga Silverlake, located in Atwater Village, in which students donate at least $10 to benefit to Talk About Curing Autism, a charity recommended by a friend, instead of paying the regular fee. Two and a half years later, the 12 p.m. Saturday donation class has raised about $45,000. This morning, officials from Talk About Curing Autism and Councilman Tom LaBonge were at Gogolak’s studio to honor the fundraising effort. Gogolak said via email:
I am grateful to have this yoga studio and I feel it’s important for me to give back. We participate in a number of charitable events, but this class for TACA is really my passion project. The idea started as a way for me to show support for my friend and the issues she was dealing with, so I asked her what autism-related charity she would like me to support. Without hesitation, she selected TACA because of all the wonderful support, guidance and invaluable information they offer families who receive this devastating diagnosis.
Gogolak noted that many of the yoga students in the Saturday class contributed more than the $10 minimum when possible.