By Digital Communications Manager, Ashley Henyan

In the beginning of September 2017, when 12 year old Certified Yoga Instructor, Natalie Asatryan and her family were evacuated to escape the La Tuna Canyon Wildfire, they witnessed the work of the American Red Cross first hand, watching many neighbors seek refuge in Red Cross evacuation shelters to escape the deadly flames. Days later, they stumbled upon Red Cross Los Angeles Region volunteers in the Walmart Parking lot, in Burbank. The volunteers were there to help with Fox 11’s on-air donation drive to help raise funds to support Red Cross disaster relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey and the La Tuna Canyon Wildfire. When Natalie saw what the Red Cross volunteers were doing, she had her own idea on how she could help people affected by disaster.

Natalie took a Red Cross donation bucket, then made arrangements to teach a donation-based Yoga class. During the class, attendees enjoyed Yoga by Natalie and also had the opportunity to give back to the Red Cross.  On October 11, Natalie came to the Red Cross Los Angeles Region Headquarters and dropped off the donation bucket that she had taken more than a month earlier. The bucket was full of the funds she had raised— $345!  While she was at the Headquarters, she treated some hard-working Red Cross volunteers to a Yoga class. But that’s not all. During the class, Natalie announced that her Mom, Stella, was matching her $345 donation. Then, to even Natalie’s surprise, since the total amount raised was now up to nearly $700, Stella announced she was rounding up. Before they left, Natalie and her Mom donated an even $1000 to support Red Cross disaster relief efforts!

 “After the La Tuna Canyon Fire, I realized how scary it was that people were living in shelters instead of their own homes. It really opened my eyes that I could do something to help,” said Natalie, after stopping by the Los Angeles Region Headquarters.

She went on to state, “I’m just really happy I can help. Me and my mom also want to do something for the fire fighters, because they helped us too. We might even bring them lunch.”

Right now, as many as 22 deadly wildfires are burning across California, threatening residents, homes and businesses. The American Red Cross is working throughout the state, alongside partners, to provide shelter, food and comfort to some of the nearly 105,000 people who have been forced to leave their homes.

The Red Cross depends on the compassion and support of people like Natalie and her Mom. If you would like to help people affected by the California Wildfires, please text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


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