In 2007, Kathleen Prasad met Leah D'Ambrosio at a Reiki class. Over lunch they realized they both had a passion for helping shelter animals and Reiki, and they began to brainstorm ways of spreading Reiki to as many shelter animals as possible. To this end, in May 2008, Kathleen and Leah co-founded the Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA), the goal of which is to bring Reiki to shelters and sanctuaries across the world. Leah's skills, learned through her work in the legal field, her daily dedication to her own Reiki meditation practice, and her passion for animals, make her an invaluable asset as the leader of SARA. As of 2014, SARA members span the globe, across the U.S., Canada, England, India, Italy, Slovakia and Australia.
Kathleen Prasad, President of the Shelter Animal Reiki Association, has practiced Reiki for over 15 years. She has created the curriculum for animals that is taught in all SARA materials, and combines this with the teachings she has learned from Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki. In a nutshell, the "SARA way" combines Japanese spiritual meditation and healing practices with a gentle mental and physical approach where animals lead the way in their own healing.
SARA encourages our teachers and practitioners to create close relationships with the organizations where they offer Reiki. This model comes from Kathleen's many years of work with BrightHaven, a sanctuary and hospice for senior and special needs animals. Kathleen has trained their staff and volunteers in Reiki and now teaches monthly Reiki classes to the public there, donating 50 percent of proceeds back to them. We encourage all our members to give back to the organizations, not only through volunteering Reiki treatments, but also through donations and fundraisers from Reiki classes and events. Many of SARA's members have created wonderful relationships of both healing and financial support with their local shelters and sanctuaries.
For more information about the core philosophy guiding SARA, click here to read Charlotte Jensen's article, "The SARA Philosophy: Support Your Local Shelter, Sanctuary or Rescue."
Shortly after SARA's formation, a wonderful fiscal sponsor, MarinLink, took SARA under its wing so donations could be accepted. This allowed SARA to operate for several years pending IRS review of nonprofit status. In June 2014, SARA received independent 501(c)3 status from the IRS. This was another big milestone for SARA as we could now accept donations directly, as well as apply for grants to assist our teachers and practitioners to reach more animals worldwide!