One of the best ways to enjoy success is to find a way to bring it to others. That’s exactly what Jayashree Karnam did when she and her friends founded Spurthi-The Inspire in May 2011.
The organization promotes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being with a goal of keeping its members inspired so they can inspire others.
After losing 40 pounds following the birth of her second child, Karnam got back into running and other fitness activities. The energy she felt as she embraced an active lifestyle motivated her to start Spurthi as an outlet to inspire other women and mothers and help them reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
She chose the name, Spurthi, because it means inspire and energize. “This is the very purpose and mission of the organization: to inspire people of all ages into well-being,” she says.
What began as a small group of friends quickly grew to more than a hundred members. Its Facebook following has more than a couple hundred people.
The organization’s board formed primarily with the group of friends who were committed to the mission and purpose. The board is re-elected each year and is comprised of driven, motivated and passionate philanthropists, Karnam says.
“Each of the board members has challenged themselves and come out of their comfort zone, be it doing long-distance running like half marathons, or losing 40 pounds of weight, learning swimming and doing a triathlon, or being a third-degree black belt.”
The board is the driving force behind the innovative ideas designed to engage the Spurthi team, volunteers and community.
“The board is a very talented and intelligent set of women who bring in their experiences from the workforce and work together living up to the Spurthi values of respect, motivation, well-being, teamwork and commitment.”
Karnam says group members converse through an instant messaging group chat, primarily about workouts and health tips, but sometimes “boast about how much each of us could grind our work out on a particular day, and that motivates another person to hit the gym or stay active in some form.”
Group members also pride themselves on offering fun-filled, affordable activities. They also do quite a bit of fundraising. Over this past year, the group donated $3,000 to the Children’s Therapy Center of Quad Cities to help children with developmental disabilities, and biked to fight against cancer and donated $251 towards cancer research.
The group has celebrated International Yoga Day with a yoga session, promoted kids’ participation in the Case Creek Obstacle Course Mud Run, had a ladies’ day out hiking the trails of Black Hawk State Historic Site, hosted Navarathi Grabha and Dandiya dance lessons and had 25 members of the Spurthi team participate in the Friends of India Association, Quad Cities' Diwali event.
The group also encourages members to participate in local races, such as the Bix 7 and Quad Cities Marathon events. Members train together with experienced runners guiding newbies.
Its largest event is the Spurthi Race to Inspire 5K walk/run, which Karnam says brings together more than 300 diverse groups and people of all ages. She says the race was born of a desire to take Spurthi and its mission to a greater audience. The group felt that introducing its own race, and including other events such as the pre-race Bollywood Bhangra and post-race Indian Savories, would help bring ethnic experiences to the broader community.
At the same time, it raises money for a good cause and gives folks a chance to get active and enjoy spring.
This year’s Spurthi Race to Inspire 5K will begin at 9 a.m. on April 28 at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Bettendorf. Registration is $20 for adults, and $15 for teens and kids ages 15 and younger. Visit getmeregistered.com to register.
Proceeds from the race will benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Karnam says she is very excited about this year’s race.
“Our Spurthi 5K is very special. Firstly, our idea is to support very local causes which directly impacts in strengthening the community we live. Participants get to experience the Bollywood Bhangra as (a) pre-race warm-up ... (and) you get to enjoy post-race scrumptious Indian snacks to relish after the 5K,” she says.
Karnam adds that she and her team believe strongly that together with respect, commitment, teamwork and motivation, they can improve the overall wellbeing of the community and strengthen it.
“We will continue to ‘inspire one more’ every day.”