Banyan Tree Women’s Collective

Melissa Fabreo-Montelongo co-founded the non-profit Banyan Tree Women’s Collective with one thing top of mind – to give access to wellness/fitness choices to a wide and diverse group of people.

“Living here in Menlo Park, access is really reserved for certain groups, those who can afford to pay,” she says. “But I don’t want anyone to suffer. We’re aiming to bridge the gap, build a long table where anyone has a seat.

Co-founder Vivian Loh Nahmias took a dance class from Melissa years ago when a shoulder injury prevented her from playing the golf and tennis that she loved. Then she took a nutrition class. “I learned so much from her,” she says. “Wellness, health, fitness.

“Banyan Tree is something I’m passionate about. I have a soft heart for help who need a little help.”

Eventually they hope to find warehouse space that would house a teaching kitchen along with  fitness studio which would offer classes along with sound therapy. Meanwhile Banyan Tree is offering a free series of classes and workshops.

The first, “Budget-minded and healthy workshop,” is set for Tuesday, September 8 from 4:30 to 5:30 pm. Participants will learn tips on how to cut back on spending before you even grocery shop, how to properly select and store your produce so you’re not throwing away money with wilted veggies, and how to save money at the farmers’ markets. You can register for the free class online.

Photos of Vivian and Melissa by Irene Searles (c) 2020

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